Evening all.  Hope it has been a productive weekend, and that you are well prepared for Midterms tomorrow.

A few notes:

We will be in Upper Core tomorrow, with our own studios, and in the general location indicated below.  We would like to begin at 2:00pm promptly, which means that setup will need to occur prior to that.  As you are aware, 2:00pm reviews often don’t start until well past the hour, which only shortens the time left for conversation and review of your work, so we encourage the first few of  you to begin taping up early.

As this is our first pin-up in Upper Core, and the first time our drawings will be on display for the school to see, I’d like to request that you demonstrate care and craft while pinning up.  Let’s try to keep drawings and presentations square and plumb, and aligned with each other as necessary and possible.  The clarity of you ideas and intent will always be partially demonstrated by the technique of your presentation and this is no different.

Additionally, this will be our first review with guest reviewers, and as our success depends on their participation, it will be nice to put on a good show.  As always, please show them the necessary respect by being on time, presenting yourself well (in every way possible), and by being clear.

And on top of all of this, please remember to show yourself the necessary respect as well.  Staying up all night may very well not be the best course of action for you.  Please do what is necessary to be present and coherent for the entire review tomorrow – especially your review.

We are all looking forward to it.



2a_M Program Mapping

FIRE HOUSE_program mapping

Step 3.   More granular still.  At the scale of the program, the use of a building is revealed and tested.  Spaces are shaped by the activities they house, and their relationships to the site play valuable roles in the quality of the experiences.

At this stage, you understand that the design process must engage real information at a variety of scales.  Zoom in and out.  Establish your criteria for examining the the way space is used in the fire station, and test it against new criteria or data and against the criteria or conclusions you have already drawn from the site.  Layer your analysis upon itself to create rich potentials.

Just as they are within a site, the issues addressed within a program analysis should be viewed as opportunities that must be interpreted, analyzed and modeled. It is critical to see a Program as a set of ‘uses’ and ‘functions’ as opposed to a reductive list of rooms so that their inherent qualities and connections can be revealed and critiqued.  A program analysis should be used to create a catalog of possibilities – think of it as a map of the unknown – as opposed to rules for size and adjacency.  A good program study will transcend those narrow considerations and begin to reveal much broader potentials.

In the same controlled and rigorous manner you have employed thus far, let building strategies and concepts develop authentically, and begin to develop your notions for your design proposals for Engine Company 99.

– Establish methods for sorting building use.    Learn to categorize program in multiple ways, using multiple criteria.
– 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
– Develop skills for combining site and programmatic criteria into a unified building strategy
– Interrogate the building uses, and identify the key criteria for each, investigating new potentials for adjacencies in the process.
-Clearly document and describe your analysis.

In the coming days, identify, interrogate and categorize the uses of the Fire House using any criteria you are able to establish.  Some of these criteria include but are  not limited to:

-site constraints

Develop attitudes and positions for the relationship of the programmatic uses relative to each other and to the site, and test these positions through mapping, diagramming and modeling.

Develop and test multiple strategies with the objective of developing design concepts or strategies that will drive the development of your projects.

Test your ideas against the site and select the specific portion of the site that you are proposing to build on.

Uncover orders. Invent ordering strategies. With focused analysis of the relationship between activities, uses, and spaces, you will begin to gain insight into possible strategies for ordering program elements across the site. Determine how the programmatic elements relate to one another. Be particular and precise about the nature of their relationship, paying particular attention to the web of inter-relationships. Do elements relate to the human body, are they related to site, are they satisfying operational or functional issues, mechanical, or does a relationship speak to some inherent meaning? What about delight?

Develop models for representational systems that are appropriate to your analyses such as comparative studies, generative matrices, adjacency diagrams, network diagrams (tree,mesh), color coding, mapping and graphing of relationships, narrative sequences.


Due Monday, September 24th
1.   Documentation of your initial programmatic analysis in a form condusive to a group presentation.  11×17 format.   Explorations of your choosing.
2.  (1) 11×17 document documenting your specific site selection with proper diagrams/drawings to illustrate the logic of your selection.

Due Friday, September 28
1.   2D and 3D program analysis of your choosing – specific to your own pursuits, explorations, hypotheses, tests, interests and curiousities.
2.  Document multiple potential building/design/conceptual strategies for the design of the fire house.

additional resources:
1.   Praxis 8.  WORK: Program Primer.  “2 Architects 10 Questions”. Rem Koolhaas + Bernard Tschumi.
2. Opportunistic Architecture.  Lewis Tsurmaki Lewis.  “Tactics for an Opportunistic Architecture”.

Fire House_L

FIRE HOUSE_site mapping

As we progress into the second phase/step of our investigation/design process, your investigation of the relationship between the City of Chicago and its fire stations will now become finer-grained as we move into the scale of the site (L), thus locating and situating the new Engine Co. 99 station at 601 S. Dearborn (see additional blog post).

Build on the work you have done thus far. Mapping the project site is about more than just physical dimensions; it is about determining the operational space of the project. The operational space – often referred to as “site context” – is both tangible (physical elements – buildings, streets, streetlights, cars, buses, people; climatic elements – wind, light, etc) and intangible (traffic flow/directionality, historical context, zoning/planning determinants, etc…). In mapping the site, you are to elucidate the tangible and intangible with real research.

This is a continuation of the design process. Crafting a solid (researched) operational space is critical to developing the parameters of your project design/proposal. The framework of defining a problem, developing new questions, speculating with answers, and then revising your solutions, is in full effect.

– Learn to intuit questions and develop hypotheses based on collected data;
– Learn how prepare for, visit and observe a site (hint: this doesn’t just mean going). Develop the skills used to critique and ‘read’ a site.
– Learn to intuit questions and develop hypotheses based on observed conditions;
– Learn to source and use additional data and contextual research to analyze hunches and answer questions;
– Investigate potentials for seeing a site through different lenses.

-Learn to develop design concepts through the systematic investigation of a site.

– Present your finding in a clear and concise manner.


Over the next week, visit the site multiple times, at various times of the day, and with various objectives.  Investigate the site.  Document the site.  Research the site.  Analyze the relationship between the new Engine Company 99 Fire House and the site that it will inhabit.  Using the terms and strategies presented in our lecture, or furthering explorations that were initiated at the XL scale, and following new hunches that develop at this new scale, develop a series of annotated, drawings/graphics/maps that represent your site research and analysis strategies and findings.

Understand that the real intent of these exercises is to begin to develop strategies/concepts/agendas the could guide the design and development of Engine Company #99.  AS with everything, this will require multiple investigations – some fruitful, many not.  To be afraid of being wrong, or doing this incorrectly, is to turn your back on potential, and ultimately, the most fruitful solutions.


Due Friday, September 14
1.     Prepared questions and documentation strategies for Fire Station visit.
2.     Prepared documentation strategies for project site visit.
3.     Site maps with annotations of hunches and questions ready to be investigated / asked while visiting both the fire station sites and the project site.

Due Monday, September 17
1.     Minimum of three (3) graphic explorations/representations (multiple pages each, clearly exploring a single agenda) of your site research, including site map with real data and both tangible (adjacent buildings, streets, and physical elements) and intangible (zoning info, traffic patterns, perceived frontages, etc) information/content. Incorporate collected information (site photos, data sets) and critically derived speculations (potential configurations, points of access, and studies of differing influences based on exact project location within larger site).

additional resources:
1. Chicago Zoning Map
2. Chicago Data Portal
3. Gordon, Ron. Printer’s Row Chicago (Images of America). Chicago: Arcadia. 2003

Fire House SITE

The site for Engine Company 99 will be at 601 S Dearborn (+/-) in the Printer’s Row neighborhood, just south of the Loop.  To assist you in the endeavor, and to ensure we are all using the same base information, we have created a very simple site plan and image for your use.  Because WordPress doesn’t allow DWG files to be transfered, those files will be distributed by your individual professors.  The PDF( F12_ARCH305_SITE BASE+_PDF) and aerial are available here.