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 a basic diagram, model  and / or a simple statement.


With midterms behind us, let’s take a week to reflect and come to terms with the primary organizing systems of our proposal.  Take this week to update your proposal based on the feedback you received during midterm to craft a clear and well organized strategy that you can move forward with as we complete the design.


  • Finalize the organizing principles of your project.
  • Develop a clear organizational logic, diagram or set of drawings that reflect and substantiate your proposal.
  • Build a Parti that satisfies an agenda and organizes space or systems.


Revisit the critique you received during midterms, your current design agendas and your current design proposal and refine your proposal by clarifying the organizational logic.  

Ask yourself:

  1. What is the primary driver of your proposal?
  2. Which architectural systems are primary to your architectural proposal.  Which are secondary?
  3. What simple organizational logic or strategy can be overlaid with the proposal to clarify the plans/sections/diagrams?


  1. A refined set of midterm deliverables including an updated site plan, floor plans and building sections.
  2. A set of drawings, diagrams or models that clarify your organizational strategy or strategies.

smallroom presents: Theo Wit

For those of you who aren’t aware, there is a small student run gallery in the Kemper Room in Galvin Library, and in the past architecture students have curated the work.  When I know about the openings, we post them to the blog, and I encourage all of you to stop by and see the work.


Assignment 4a: Building Hybrid

“Building Hybrid”  

From Sunday’s 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, and to face them, our thinking must be equally dynamic.

In the second half of the semester, we will design and develop an architectural project that explores these potentials and challenges by creating new hybrid typologies that benefit the 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 address these contemporary issues.


– 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 research (due Monday, October 14th, 2pm):

Within your own studios, 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 Monday, October 14th.

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?

space program (due no later than Friday, October 18th or as decided by your studio instructor):

On Wednesday, October 16th, we will have an in-studio workshop to explore the potentials for programming and for developing the basic ‘building blocks’ necessary for planning the hybrid solutions. We will use what we have learned about each of the uses through our research to construct volumes necessary for programming the new solutions, and with that you will be required to create a detailed programming spreadsheet for your hybrid design.

schematic design model/study model/massing model (due Monday, October 21, 2pm):

Building off of the programming exercise from the previous week, you are asked to develop the overall massing to the project. Where is program joined or separated? How are your building blocks assembled? Taking into careful consideration the areas of hybridization this model will begin to study the relationship between and overlap of program elements.

Study models are for study.  Do not attempt to solve every issue with every model.  Instead, explore specific problems with each, and use each to refine the next.

Parti/schematic design plan diagrams/schematic study model (due Monday, October 28, 2pm):

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.

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.

Note:  Representation of your current approach shall be comprised of not less than six (6) horizontally formatted 11x17s and associated models/constructions.


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 a basic diagram, model  and / or a simple statement.

– to understand the concept of the big idea.
– to develop methods for translating programmatic organization into building system organizations
– to see the potential in developing formal strategies from programmatic and site analysis.
– to begin to see and understand common organizational strategies

TOOLS the following items will be needed at the beginning of studio for the workshop…
1.   Fat black markers
2. Fat colored markers
3.   Colored Pencils
4. Trace or other paper for sketching/diagramming
5. Laptop

part 1 – intro (2:00-2:30)
Thinking big.  Defining parti and understanding it’s value.  What are the types of parti’s and how are they generated.

part 2 – discovering parti (2:30-3:00)
In teams of 2 and using the provided information that describe a pre-selected list of precedent projects, discover the parti for 2 of them.  Generate in diagram and/or narrative form a minimum of 3 potential parti’s for each project and be prepared to discuss your findings and their logic.  Work to refine your parti’s to their most essential presentation.  When complete, please pin up your final parti’s for discussion.

Consider the following building systems and design criteria in your discovery process:

part 2a – discussion (3:00-3:30)
In your studio or in groups of studios, pin up your partis grouped by project and be prepared to discuss the logic and process of your findings and of the parti diagrams that were discovered with your research.

part 3 – generating parti (3:30-end of class)
Individually, and using your deep understanding of the Fire House site in conjunction with the programming analysis you have been working on, rapidly generate a minimum of 3 potential partis for your Fire House project.

Consider the same list of building systems and criteria in the generation of your own parti diagrams and endeavor to simplify the strategy to only its most essential parts.

Remember that projects are often the result of multiple strategies coming together, so in your own work to generate partis, focus on different building systems with each.

workshop #6 – enclosure

prof: braucher

Envelop : to enclose or enfold completely with or as if with a covering. (Old French) envoloper, from en + voloper   “to wrap”
Wrap:   1. To cover, especially by winding or folding  2. to envelop and secure  3. to enclose by grasping or embracing  4. to coil, fold, draw or twine about something  5. to conceal or obscure as if by enveloping  6. to put on clothing  7. to be subject to covering, enclosing or packaging

Skin is the soft outer covering of vertebrates.  The adjective cutaneous means “of the skin” (from Latin cutis, skin). In mammals, the skin is the largest organ made up of multiple layers of ectodermal tissue, and guards the underlying muscles, bones, ligaments and internal organs.  Skin plays a key role in protecting (the body) against pathogens[3] and excessive water loss.  Its other functions are insulation, temperature regulation, sensation, and the protection of vitamin D folates.

– use the Parti to lead the design process
– allow the enclosure to fully support the idea of parti
– control visual and physical access to our building
– understand the relationship between enclosure and spatial experience
– develop enclosure that meets functional requirements while advancing design agendas
– study alternatives and variations that meet your specific criteria

TOOLS the following items will be needed for the workshop…

basswood from Structures Workshop

NOTE:  you must bring 3 fully assembled structural models of a single significant corner or your project to apply enclosure to on Friday.  Models should be ¼”= 1’-0” structural frames of 2 bays at an important corner of your project.(primary and secondary structure only). We will apply enclosure/skin to each of the three frames.

And, bring three enclosure precedencies, that you have researched that have relationship to your thinking of parti.

have handy the diagrams that contributed to your development of parti

1.      white paper or card stock and colored paper/card stock for cutting and wrapping structural models.
2.      fat colored markers
3.      colored pencils
4.      trace or other paper for sketching/diagramming and layering
5.      scissors, knives and safe cutting implements
6.      laptop


part 1 – lecture (1:50-3:00) – Perlstein Auditorium

supporting parti with enclosure. a great project will use the parti to lead the design process

understand the relationship between enclosure and spatial experience.

envelope is the primary means of controlling visual and physical access to our building as doorways and windows facilitate use, circulation and view

the interior of the building and the exterior of the building, the enclosure system, often in conjunction with the structural system, forms the visual expression of our buildings

the development of common and/or governing logic to resolve all of the parts in relation to the whole.

material strategies, their connections and compositions. tactical approaches to using material and fenestration

part 2 – unwrapping (3:00-4:00)

Wrap each structural model fully with white paper to enclose the corner location for the conditioned portion of your boathouse project. Cut, pierce, remove and unwrap as required to establish a strategy for open and closed as well as additional strategies and criteria identified in developing your parti. Decide where to cut or how to cut in order to unwrap the building’s logic and parti.
Consider the same list of criteria used in the generation of your parti diagrams to identify different strategies for unwrapping.

discover enclosure in 3 iterations using these three main divisions of enclosure:
interior: definition of interior space
interstitial: mediation of physical differences between inside and outside
exterior: object and spacial definition in the site

part 3 – wrapping (4:00-5:30)

beginning with your unwrapped versions begin to rewrap or add to the model using material and scale considerations. rapidly generate a minimum of 3 potential enclosure strategies that have relation to your parti.

work to define your enclosures to their most essential components

enclosures are often the result of multiple layers and tactics. in your  work to generate enclosure, focus on the different layers within an overall system

enclosures are assembled of materials. entertain material selections and consider how each material tactic communicates a different set of visual understandings

explore how your material selections are able to turn a corner, act in horizontal or vertical or respond to meeting another material.

part 4 – discussion (5:30- end of class)

In your studio or in groups of studios, present your enclosure iteration discoveries and be prepared to discuss the logic and process embodied in the enclosure models you have generated.

part 5 – weekend and ongoing:

elevation studies:
now that you have enclosure strategies and tactics, develop a level of control and definition through elevation drawings.

tertiary structure:
all layers must find relation to the existing structural frame. The structure is needed to support the materials in relation to gravity and wind. the scale of materials used for the enclosure of buildings, are limited by their manufactured and structural capacities. a tertiary structural system will be employed in the service of the enclosure strategy after the enclosure is studied and understood. choose one iteration of your enclosure studies to test the relation between tertiary structure in support of enclosure.

wall section:
develop enclosure systems that meet functional requirements while advancing design agendas. this system embodies the control of energy and moisture through the envelope and includes the primary means of waterproofing and insulating a building, as well as controlling the passage of water vapor.   these elements should form continuous lines of control and protection, and should only be compromised when absolutely necessary to satisfy other, and more important, agendas.