Concept Modeling_SUPPLIES

Given the busy weekend ahead, we wanted to make an early request for concept modeling supplies.  Our workshop next week will have us building quick, but well crafted and thoughtful, concept models for the IDEAhaus.

More information on the workshop will be provided, but most importantly you need to have quality model building materials and supplies.  We would like to work on modeling languages with this workshop and represent ideas or agendas not only with intent, but with material consequence.  Instead of chunks of wood, think wood veneer.  Instead of chipboard, think high quality heavyweight paper.  Pink or blue foam is acceptable, but only if cut cleanly and consistently with sharp knives or wire cutters, so reserve those and bring those from the shop as well.   Unconventional materials can also make incredible conceptual and study models.  Fabric, felt, wire, wood sticks, etc.  Please don’t just bring what is laying around.  The criteria is simple.

Bring materials that are easy to build with AND that you would love to have art in your home made from.

ASSIGNMENT 3A: IDEAhaus (program/site/concept)

3A_IDEAhaus (program/site/concept)

Download assignment here: S15 ARCH 306_ASSIGNMENT 3A_IDEAhaus


IDEAhaus is a new Chicago Institution. Owned and operated by the City of Chicago, IDEAhaus is a network of buildings spread out across Chicago intended to establish a framework for community involvement and engagement. Individually, each building is defined by the specific needs of its site and context providing places for the community to MEET, MAKE and PERFORM, fostering public programs and potentials that are as diverse as the network of neighborhoods that make up Chicago.

You are now asked to specify the use program for the IDEAhaus, define a specific site for the building within your AREA OF INTEREST, and to develop and refine the primary motivations for the design of the facility.


– Develop a specific use program for the IDEAhaus

– Complete the necessary research to fully vet the site selection and use program

– Familiarize yourself with Quantum GIS software

– Learn how to create shape files with specific criteria in QGIS

– Select a site for the IDEAhaus within your area of interest and substantiate that location through GIS mapping and analysis.

– Practice quickly exploring concepts through modeling

– Develop and test concepts for the IDEAhaus

– Present a compelling argument for your IDEAhaus at Midterm review.



Develop a specific use program for the IDEAhaus specific to your research and area of interest.  Mine your AREA OF INTEREST for it’s INFRA and develop a use program that improves, exploits, contradicts, etc, that framework.

Though simple, the programs can have a range of implications depending on where in the city they exist. What does meeting, making and performing mean across the city?


Identify potential sites and analyse their suitability. Select a site within your AREA OF INTEREST for the IDEAhaus.  The site should be no larger than 30,000sf.  The site can be any open, vacant or empty lot or any portion of open lot or parking lot. Proof of specific ownership is not essential.  You will be asked to substantiate your chosen site through the use of GIS mapping.

Using the Quantum GIS software, you will be asked to overlay existing and newly created datasets to substantiate a specific site selection.  Site selection will be contingent on the IDEAhaus’ specific use program and the agendas and criterias you have developed for the design of the facility.

NOTE:  You must generate multiple of your own shape files or data sets to map.  Existing GIS data is useful, but will not be adequate to substantiate your site selections.


With use program and site selection established, develop agendas/concepts/motivations for the design of the IDEAhaus and through an iterative process, establish the most appropriate design path/process.

Produce diagrams that explore intent, and produce massing studies that test that intent in place.  You are encouraged to continue to explore possibilities using your site model from the Assemblage investigation.

Develop your design with the necessary documentation to adequately describe the site location, site substantiation, site influences, programmatic influences, programmatic adjacencies and form or massing for the design at your Midterm Review presentation.

IDEAhaus program and site  brief:

– a new Chicago institution.  a network of buildings across the city

– +/-20,000sf

– max 10,000sf footprint

– minimum (FAR) of .75.  maximum FAR of 2(+/-).



  1. What are the potential impacts of your project’s siting and program to your Area of Interest?
  2. What are the influences of the area on your IDEAhaus?
  3. How can the  IDEAhaus interface with your area of Interest?

schedule (key dates):

W         Feb 11              Assignment Launch / Program brief

F          Feb 13              GIS intro lecture / desk crits

M         Feb 16              Program research due

F          Feb 20              GIS lecture / desk crits

M         Feb 23              Concept modeling workshop

F          Feb 27              Cincinnati Field Trip

W         March 11           Mid-term Review


Midterm Review: Wednesday, March 11th, 2015, 2-6pm, Upper Core:

  1.  Programmatic diagrams or research that describe specific uses for the IDEAhaus.
  2.  Minimum one (1) GIS map with a minimum of 3 datasets that have been customized to substantiate choices for IDEAhaus site.
  3. Parti sketch/diagrams supporting your overall concept.
  4. Concept/diagrammatic models in place on an individual site model that describes at a minimum all adjacent buildings and streets.
  5.  Diagrammatic plans and sections that described spatial conditions and sequences.
  6.  Representative drawings that demonstrate spatial experience.

Workshop 1_Concept Modeling – TOMORROW, Note things to bring!


before class

Each student is required to bring to class a minimum of 2 different media and the necessary tools to be used for conceptual model production and 1-2 large sheets of paper (18×24 – doesn’t have to be nice) and writing utensils.  Consult the list of recommended materials provided below.



“getting lit … erary”

+west studio

essential terminology will be defined and the nature of working conceptually discussed


exercise 1

“interrogating connections | a path to a medium”

+in studio

+ partnered

Beginning with a few “points of entry” into the context of your particular precedent hybrid, the objective of this exercise is to discover relevant connections through actions and to explore the conceptual relationships surrounding these actions through different methods of controlling stream of consciousness.

Working in precedent teams of two or more, begin to interrogate the connections between hybrid uses you are considering or concepts you have developed through concept mapping.  Discover new connections and define these connections as verbs or actions – operations that you could interract with.

keep in mind

If you start with 2 terms, you should strive to end with 100.

The connection (line) is more important than the term(point) as it qualifies the meaning of the relationship between nodes and it defines the action or operation that you will then use to build concept models.


+in studio

What do these mappings expose? Evaluate breadth vs. depth in understanding relationships? Identifying potency vs. pitfall? Can you determine or prioritize relevant physical media or processes to associate with the verbs or actions?


exercise 2

“Exploring a concept through a medium”

Using one of the verbs or actions identified in the first exercise, select a relevant media from the central media repository and generate a sequence of a minimum of 5 different products which embody the nature of the trope.

The sequence should find rigor by forcing the media to produce very distinct products for the the same trope (breadth), or to find the minimum and maximum articulations of the same process for the selected trope as an incremental study(depth).

Emphasis should be placed on developing operational and parametric thinking for how the medium is used to articulate the trope.



Studio critique. How well can we understand the concepts being explored without hearing any back story. Quickly tag or label the explorations with the terminology (verbs) they exhibit.

after class

“(re)state your assumptions”

“11:15, restate my assumptions: 1. Mathematics is the language of nature. 2. Everything around us can be represented and understood through numbers. 3. If you graph these numbers, patterns emerge. Therefore: There are patterns everywhere in nature.” – Maximillian Cohen in the movie PI

In the movie PI, the character mathemetican Maximillian Cohen, regularly restates his assumptions, reminding himself of the driving agenda behind the project he is immersed in.

In a similar fashion, start a log of your thinking relative to the problems and solutions of the project at hand. Don’t assume that this document is binding or not subject to change, on the contrary it should change over the course of development. This document can be used to retain awareness or focus of your thinking at any particular time. In as clear and concise, yet sufficiently descriptive prose as possible develop a written statement of your project agenda.

  1. what are the most important objectives/goals?

  2. what are the relevant concepts you intend to explore?

  3. define your strategy(s)

  4. what are your tactics?

Do this as frequently as possible, weekly, daily, etc. over the course of the project. To stay articulate about your agenda.

“Verb List Compilation: Actions to Relate to Oneself” – Richard Serra [1967-1968]

to roll

to crease

to fold

to store

to bend

to shorten

to twist

to dapple

to crumple

to shave

to tear

to chip

to split

to cut

to sever

to drop

to remove

to simplify

to differ

to disarrange

to open

to mix

to splash

to knot

to spill

to droop

to flow

to curve

to lift

to inlay

to impress

to fire

to flood

to smear

to rotate

to swirl

to support

to hook

to suspend

to spread

to hang

to collect

of tension

of gravity

of entropy

of nature

of grouping

of layering

of felting

to grasp

to tighten

to bundle

to heap

to gather

to scatter

to arrange

to repair

to discard

to pair

to distribute

to surfeit

to compliment

to enclose

to surround

to encircle

to hole

to cover

to wrap

to dig

to tie

to bind

to weave

to join

to match

to laminate

to bond

to hinge

to mark

to expand

to dilute

to light

to modulate

to distill

of waves

of electromagnetic

of inertia

of ionization

of polarization

of refraction

of tides

of reflection

of equilibrium

of symmetry

of friction

to stretch

to bounce

to erase

to spray

to systematize

to refer

to force

of mapping

of location

of context

of time

of cabonization

to continue


Please have 2 sets of modeling materials (media) and the requisite tools with you at the beginning of class for use building multiple small scale models.  You are not required to select from the list.  If you have an idea for a great modeling media or a material you’ve always wanted to work with, bring it in. We do not have time to move back and forth between the shop, so no need to contemplate larger modeling making tools.  Think small, quick, easily controllable.


Sheet goods: Corrugated cardboard, foam core, chip board, plywood, wood veneer, acrylic, paper(s), metal(s), fabric, rubber, canvas, other, etc.

Linear goods: Bass wood, polymer extrusions, rope, wire, other, etc.

Sculptable materials: Plastelina, clay, wax, polymer shapes, florist foam, pink/blue insulation (please check out a wire cutter), other, etc

Paintable materials: Paint, silicone, inks, dyes, rapid setting adhesives, other, etc.

Found objects: Bottle caps, DVD’s, old cd covers/cases, newspaper, magazines, books, natural materials (plants, landscape), food, clothing(s), recyclable bottles/plastic, other, etc.

NECESSARY TOOLS: Please bring all tools necessary for small scale and FAST (!) model building including but not limited to:

Glue, knives, blades, hot glue, straight edge, scissors, markers, hot wire cutter, drills, ruler, wire cutter, pliers, other, etc.


“Building Hybrid”  

From the Chicago Tribune  (Section 1, Page 20, 10/06/2013):

A century ago civic architect Daniel Burnham mapped a physical future for this city. He had intended to design social remedies as well but didn’t deliver. Today, with education failures, joblessness, crime and other intertwined challenges confronting Chicago with the fourth great crisis of its 176 years, the Tribune invites readers and organizations to finish Burnham’s work — to address the imperiled livability, uneven prosperity and desperate public finances that have driven residents to leave by the hundreds of thousands. In coming months, you, and we, will explore how this metropolis can better survive and thrive. Together, our mission echoes Burnham’s: Make no little plans.


The Metropolis is a dynamic context with both unparalleled potentials and challenges.  To face both, our thinking must be equally dynamic.

For the remainder of the semester, we will design and develop an architectural project that explores these potentials and challenges by creating new hybrid typologies that respond to the ever changing Metropolis.  Our research and exploration will be based on the existing demographic, social, political, architectural and technical conditions, and we will define new criteria and tools for developing original hybrid solutions that position buildings to remain relevant and responsive in our continually evolving culture.

We will work on two sites, one on Michigan Avenue and one on Fulton Market, and we will design a Hybrid Building that is to combine several disparate activities into a single building that is greater than the sum of its parts.  For each project you will be given a specific site, context and base building program.  You will explore that context and program, and develop new uses to hybridize with the base building.  With those, you will develop strategies and operations for exploring the potentials of their adjacency, and develop an authentic solution for a new building.


– perform research on building use and unknown building typologies and evolve new typologies to address current conditions.

research and document specific contexts and situations that contribute to current social, economic and political conditions

– develop a detailed space program from your research and building planning exercises

– use research to formulate problems and questions that are answered and transformed through your design process

– show different ways how critical components of your research and analyses get synthesized towards a design solution

– frame a position (or set of positions) on behalf of your analysis and in support of your conclusions.

– communicate your ideas precisely and deliver compelling and reasoned arguments

– represent your ideas through focused visual communication

– formulate an evocative representation of a design intent.

– lead a conversation of your ideas and work

– learn to see a building program as a list of uses as opposed to a list of spaces, and mine those uses for their potential to become building strategy


program exploration (due Friday, October 10th, 2pm):

You have already begun this project.  Your work from the past two weeks has given you new lenses through which to explore and analyze both  base building programs AND new programs to hybridize into the Hybrid Building.  Through these lenses, research the context of your particular project.  Establish the history of the situation, and the unique challenges and potentials presented by the design problem.   Research the variety of uses or potential uses that may ultimately compose the final hybrid solution, and critique their potentials.  Develop questions that begin to form the frameworks for design solutions and establish criteria and agendas for answering or refining the questions through a design process.  Agree to and standardize a format for researching the context within your studio, and present your findings on Friday, October 10th.

At the minimum, your research must document the following:

  1.  What is the history of your particular building/site context?
  2. Are there unique site conditions that contribute to the current situation?
  3. What are the potential programmatic uses for the hybrid design solution?
  4.  What are the specifics for each particular use?  Necessity?  Size? Connections between various other uses?
  5.  What questions are generated by the design problem?  What questions could be answered by the potential hybrid solution?
  6.  What problems exist with the current context/situation?  What problems could be created by the particular hybrid solution?

regulating systems deconstruction (deliverables per studio)

Architecture, the activity within, and the spaces and experiences that are developed within are shaped by the assembly of a multitude of building systems.  The richness and quality  of these experiences is directly related to the expert development and manipulation of these building systems.  The architect must analyze, prioritize and then weave these systems together in concert with one and other to develop solutions that are layered, responsive and relevant.

Following the Regulating Systems lecture on Friday October 10th, you will be asked to choose a regulating system for the project and deconstruct it by analyzing it fully.  The regulating systems will become our lenses and we will filter our programmatic explorations through these new lenses to develop new potentials and strategies for hybridizing our building solutions.

concept/concept modeling (concepting workshop in studio, Friday October 17th)

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. -Steve Jobs

On Friday October 17th and over the following weekend, you will explore operational strategies for developing and demonstrating concepts for hybridization.  These strategies will not be representational, but more generative.  You will be asked to bring a variety of modeling supplies, and then explore the nature of the material and operations relevant to your developing notions of hybridization and build several concept models for your project.

More details on the concept modeling workshop to follow.

Parti/schematic design plan diagrams/schematic study model (due Monday, October 27th, 2pm – Midterm Review):

A Parti, from the French prendre parti meaning “to make a decision”, is often referred to as the big idea, and is the chief organizing thought or decision behind an architect’s design presented in the form of basic diagrams, models and/or simple statements.

Develop a presentation that frames your strategy by presenting your design process across scale and medium.  Convey the relevant analysis across scales. The success of this dialogue relies on your ability to frame your position and formulate questions.  Begin by clarifying your objectives and criteria. Where has your analysis led you, and what is now driving your process?  Frame the presentation as a curated set of drawings/images/diagrams and models.   Present your work with the intent of developing a conversation regarding the potential of your concept. A clear composition, a well-rehearsed and choreographed presentation, and artifacts of your process which show your design intent will allow for a deep and rich conversation.

schedule (key dates only):

F 03 Oct Project Launch, Modernity and Hybridity Lecture

F 10 Oct Program Research presentations, in studio, Regulating Systems Lecture

M 13 Oct NO CLASS, Fall Break

F 17 Oct Concepting Workshop (2pm, in studio, information will be provided prior)

M 20 Oct Regulating systems exploration due

W 22 Oct MCHAP Event, Attendance is required, NO STUDIO CLASS

M 27 Oct MID-TERM PRESENTATION, 2-6pm, Crown Hall Upper Core


For internal reviews between now and the midterm presentation, use criteria established in studio and your own agendas to properly document and present your process.

Note:  It is critical to develop a process that is at any given moment presentable.  Eliminate the threshold that you see as the place where design stops and presentation begins.  Always produce well crafted drawings and models that are properly formatted for presentation at any given moment.  This is the ultimate time saving strategy.

For the midterm (10/27/14) at the minimum you must present:

  1.  The key components of your research/analysis that have informed your current position. That is, your guide for how you plan to organize your work “on the wall”.
  2. A specific set of questions for your classmates and jurors during your presentation.
  3.  A comprehensive composition of artifacts/representations of your research and design work to date including research documentation, design process artifacts (sketches, study models, etc),  plan/programming diagrams, and a study model. These are the drawings and models that, in speaking for themselves, clearly present and substantiate your current design.  They should answer WHY, WHAT and HOW on their own terms, without your additional verbal support.