As with every building design project, once the driving principles have been established, the architect’s job is to then turn the idea into a building by developing and composing building systems into spaces.  Your job is to now design the Chicago Rowing Club Boathouse communicating through plans, sections, and models how the composition of key building systems – circulation, structure, mass/volume, materiality, etc  – affect and influence the operation and environment of the boathouse on its site.   A great project will provide for all the essential needs of the program and infuse an AGENDA  through every one of these systems, allowing  building systems and space to embody ideas.


– Learn to build a plan for a building using your agenda as your guide
– Construct spatial relationships that satisfy your agendas as well as the operational agendas established by the building program.
– Learn to investigate and develop a tectonic language in fulfillment of an agenda.
– Develop and produce plans and sections that investigate and convey space and experience through intelligent and creative use of drawing conventions.
– Develop the ability to shape spatial experience and facilitate use through building systems and related assemblies.


Using the conventions of plans and sections develop a design for your Boathouse.   Plan and Section are two of the most typical and useful means of communicating materiality, space and spatial relationships, but they should also be used as a means of investigation and exploration.    

To draw successful plans and sections, it is critical to have an intent for the drawings.  Consider the varieties of systems that can become the support for composition (circulation, enclosures, surfaces, materials, structures, illumination, etc.) and practice assembling them in a variety of manners to shape use and experience.   Let the convention of drawing assist you in expressing your larger ideas and agendas.

When investigating, consider that a plan or section are platforms for exposing spatial relationships and composing material assemblies –  and that the graphic elements of a drawing represent material elements on paper.  

As such you should pay close attention to:

– what lines represent
– how linetypes, line thicknesses and line darknesses can communicate different things
– the thickness, heaviness, or opacity  of architectural systems (walls, enclosures)
– the sense of materiality communicated in the drawing (hard/soft, transparent/opaque, heavy/light)
– inside is not the same as indoor, and outside is not the same as outdoor.
– where to cut to explore and expose key “parti” – principles of spatial and material composition
– when to poche or not to poche and what it communicates about weight, mass, light, or other phenomenon
– how to integrate or separate various building systems (circulation, use, structure)
– how much of the immediate site and wider context are participants in the composition
– how to use complementary drawings across scale as a support for managing your thinking across size and scope


Develop a proposal for the structural and material systems that will shape the spaces and experiences of the boathouse.   As your proposal develops, resolve your ideas fully and into three dimensions.  As opposed to modeling masses, model systems that shape space, facilitate use and agenda, affect experience.

As you develop your tectonic system, consider the following:

– Does your structural and material system have a common and/or governing logic?  What is that logic.
– Is there an alternative system to your proposal that operates similarly?  What differentiates the two?


  1. Site plan at scale with surrounding context and ground floor plan shown.
  2. Ground floor plan at scale (+/- ⅛” = 1’-0”)including road and river
  3. Other floor plans at same scale
  4. Building section at scale (min ¼”=1’-0”) including road and river
  5. Enlarged, illuminated and annotated section at scale (min ½” = 1’-0”) conveying assembly of building systems that influence operation and distill agenda.
  6. Scale model including road and river


IDEAhaus_4b_Embodiment COMPETITION (space models)



If plans and sections support the development of a design logic and regulating systems for your IDEAhaus in two dimensions, then models allow you to further understand and develop the experiential effect of these systems in three dimensions.

Building a large scale section and spatial model of your IDEAhaus will expand your exploration of  how  various systems can work, in concert, to shape experience (i.e.  spatial sequences, apertures, structures, envelopes, circulation, material qualities, natural and artificial illumination).  You might explore a singular and unified composition, or the  building could have various experiential “states” in response to shifting conditions, like: changes in activity, environment, season, metropolitan context, daylight.

The review for the large scale spatial models will be in the form of a DESIGN COMPETITION, to be held in Crown Hall, and judged by a panel of guest jurors and by yourselves. Further details regarding the design competition to follow.


– understand the ways that space activates and engages your senses;

– improve your skills of narratively describing space and experience and criteria;

– further develop modeling skills and craft;

– explore the strengths of designing 3-dimensionally in section;

– continue working iteratively between physical and digital in your process;

– experience a competitive project working environment;

– accelerate your project development.


Using the agendas,  plans, sections and models  developed over the past weeks, choose a portion of your IDEAhaus to demonstrate the spatial experiences of the building.  Models MUST be between ¼”=1’-0” and ½” = 1’-0” scale (with bias towards the larger) and should represent a plus or minus 5000sf portion of your design.  The model MUST be able to fit within a volume of 42”W x 30”D x 48” tall.   The model should be both sectional and spatial, and should capture both interior space, exterior enclosure and the site.


– Does the experience of your building contribute to its use in meaningful ways?

– Does your model capture/embody the primary design logic or concepts for your project?

– Does your design and modeling language embody your concepts and criteria for the design of your building?

– How might a detail be the genesis for discovering an overall concept or strategy for developing the rest of the building?


Design Competition / Friday April 10 2015 / Upper Core

Craft a high-quality physical sectional and spatial model using the parameters provided above to convey the essential and compelling nature of your project.

NOTE: The singular means of presentation suggest that you should exhibit your very highest levels of craft and care.

Embodiment (plans and sections)

S14_Embodiment (plans and sections)


In an effort to resist the shallow urge to turn architectural diagramming into physical reality, consider your architecture as an active participant in your script, another character in the scene. Consider your architecture not just as the backdrop and setting for events but also as the protagonist in its own story.

 Similarly, the tectonics of the Kulturhus will involve simultaneous kinds of logic- -technical, environmental, ambient, material, etc.  Seize the opportunity to explore your building’s role as a producer of effects. Use your material studies and vignettes as a guide.


-This assignment expedites engagement with the effect of building assemblies, materials, and systems: their agency as separate systems, and the potential for poetic interrelation between systems as part of a larger composition.

-Learn to use drawing systems (like collage) as generative design tools.


1. Based on the vignettes that you generated over Spring Break generate plans and sections for each of those experiences.

2. Critique these plans and sections, and using them as a guide, collect fragments, pieces, elements of architecture – portions of a plan, sections, circulation systems, pieces of envelopes, from well-documented sources of architectural construction.  The fragments should merely symbolize characteristics of architectural assemblies (suggesting orders, thicknesses, transparencies, weight, solids, void, materialities, etc.), but they should be incomplete, and not represent a total building organization or composition (image or full composition).

3.  Now compose these fragments (including your original plans and sections)  into a new edifice – via decoupage and collage (to suggest a fully embodied plan and section).  This drawing should be completed with (a) construction lines, for reference, (b) measures, and (c) scale figures.   The process will instantly generate an accidental architecture: inheriting the materialities, thicknesses, sizes, dimensions, orders implied by the fragments.

4.  Scan this collage into an underlay (to scale) and redraw it.   The collage (underlay) will become a basis for making editorial decisions about the character of your project.

5. The short version: Generate incredible plans and sections that do both of the following:

1. Capture architectural systems that embody your concepts for the building and site (site, structure, assembly, envelope, environment, light, circulation, use, , materiality, etc).  These systems can act in alone and in concert to shape experience.

2. Embody your concepts and criteria for the design of the project in your representational style.   Conventional plans and sections are not merely enough.


-How did you use the decoupage/collage to expand the terms of your  project?

-Do the new plans propose a coherent relationship between spatial sequence, the architectural body, and atmospheric effects?

-Are your drawings and drawing techniques specific to your own concepts and ideas about driving ideas behind the project, the neighborhood, the experience, the project’s agency?

– Do your plans and sections clearly convey your intentions about the concept for the project and the relevant architectural systems (site, structure, assembly, envelope, environment, light, circulation, use, materiality, etc).


Due Friday / 4 Apr 2014

– Fully developed and detailed plans and sections of your building at ⅛” = 1′-0″ scale.  NOTE: Your first floor plan must include the adjacent site plan as part of the same drawing.


-Marco Frascari, Eleven Exercises in the Art of Architectural Drawing: Slow Food for the Architect’s Imagination, ISBN-13: 978-0415779265.

Marco Frascari, “The Tell-the-Tale Detail.”


finish!_hybrid building part 2

“Building Hybrid”  



As with every building design project, once the driving principles have been established, the architect’s job is to then turn the idea into a building by developing and composing the building systems into space. Your job is to now complete the design of your hybrid through the development of the key building systems – plan, section, structure, material and enclosure. A successful project will use the developed hybrid concepts and organizing principles to lead the design process for every one of these systems, allowing the building systems to fully embody the idea, just as the programmatic organizations and site strategies have.

One catch – because your buildings are large, and the time is short, we will be finalizing just a portion of your building project.  Choose the most compelling area/section/spaces of your project totaling roughly 3000-5000 square feet.  The area you choose must include at least two exterior walls, and 3 interior structural bays – roughly.  We will finalize the design of the project primarily in model form.

 NOTE: Processes will differ between studio.  As always, please defer to your studio instructor for deviations or further specifics.


– learn to use your concepts and organizing principles as the primary driver of all building systems

– understand the relationship between building systems and spatial experience.

– develop structural frames and enclosure systems that embody the larger ideas and ideals of a project.

– understand the performance criteria of an enclosure system and learn to develop enclosure systems that meet those functional requirements while advancing design agendas.

– design primarily in model form




Starting from the ground, develop a building frame that satisfies the complex issues of creating a form, resolving all typical building loads necessary to support the building while still advancing your design agenda as much as necessary to satisfy your larger design intent.

Consider the following as you develop your structural system.

– Does your structural system have a common and/or governing logic for resolving all of the parts in relation to the whole?

– Have you studied alternatives and variations that meet your specific criteria and analyzed their pros and cons?

– Does your structure satisfy a broader agenda?  If so, how?  If not, why not?

– Is your structural system exposed or is it concealed, and what is your process for determining the most appropriate answer to these questions?



Using conventional drawing means, develop detailed plans and sections for the portion of your Hybrid.  Plan and Section are two of the most typical and useful means of communicating space and spatial relationships, but they should also be used as a means of investigation and exploration.

To draw successful plans and sections, it is critical to have an intent for the drawings.  Consider the varieties of systems we have been working with and designing and determine methods for communicating each of these systems in your drawings.  Let the convention of drawing also find ways to express your larger ideas and agendas.

When investigating, consider the following:

– the thickness of your lines

– the thickness of your systems (walls, enclosure)

– materiality

– interior versus exterior

– poche

– building systems (circulation, use, structure)

– context



Develop an enclosure system that controls the environmental stability of your Hybrid as well as satisfies the larger design agendas you have established through your process.

Remember, an envelope is the primary means of controlling visual and physical access to our buildings as well as energy transmission to and from the spaces we create.  As such, we should consider these primary systems in the development of our enclosures:

Aesthetic – Both from 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, and this expression must be considered and developed with intent.  The agenda for the expression should be developed initially from our design process and realized through the specific use of materials, their connections and compositions.

Thermal – This system embodies the control of energy and moisture through the envelop 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.

Use – Elements such as doorways and windows facilitate use, circulation and view, and must be manipulated strategically to choreograph a users experience in and through a building, and it, too, should be developed in conjunction with your larger agenda to become one with your overall design agenda.

deliverables (DUE – November 20, 2013, 9am – FINAL REVIEWS):

The primary deliverable for the final project will be a larger scale model, roughly ⅜” = 1’-0”.  The model should clearly detail the design, use and spatial experience of the most compelling parts of your Hybrid.  Additional deliverables for this phase will be any necessary drawings, models and visualizations to convey the development of these systems and the overall design for your project.   Drawings can and should include any information necessary to convey your process and your broader intent, including diagrams, sketches, and study models.   Drawings will not be limited but should include at a minimum, building/site plans and building/site sections, enlarged spatial sections that convey the relationship between the structure, enclosure and spatial experience, and any other drawings or representations necessary to convey the materiality and spatial experience of your project and its desired effect.

All information should be composed on individual 11×17’s pages oriented horizontally.