Thursday, April 22, 2010

Rebuilding Together this Saturday!

All our efforts from the past year with Rebuilding Together will culminate this Saturday for their National Rebuilding Day. Come on out to work with like-minded architects and others as well as the homeowners themselves. Don't be shy, anyone can swing a hammer or a paint brush, there's something for everyone. Several groups that have previously been featured on this blog will be hosting homes. To get involved please contact their team leaders: AIA - Holly Genc and AfH - Brian Landwehr.

All of the homeowners have been screened to meet income requirements and many of the ones I met were simply incapable of doing the work themselves do to some sort of physical ailment or old age. This is a great cause.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Design Exposed: SOM Blackbox Lecture

Yesterday evening, the AIA Chicago chapter sponsored a lecture conducted by Keith Besserud of SOM on recent work done in the arena of parametric modeling and performance simulation in the Blackbox Studio, which is an in-house group of specialists who focus on advanced modeling, simulation and analysis across a range of scales from urban design, to building massings, to individual wall components.

Description from the AIA Chicago website:

Keith Besserud, AIA, head of the Black Box Studio at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP, will discuss projects on which his group has collaborated and the advanced computational design technologies the studio has developed. What is the role of design research and a specialized in-house “consultancy” within the context of an architecture firm? We will also look at the interdisciplinary approach towards algorithmic/parametric design as well as tools to create and investigate the “optimal” and the “novel.”

Besserud began by giving a general overview of parametric design and diagrammed the relationship between simulation and analysis, data management and geometry control. He highlighted a number of SOM projects undertaken by the Blackbox Studio including the post-rationalization of complex curvature for a feature ceiling in the lobby of the recently completed Burj Khalifa, a parametric roof for a convention center in Tanggu, China that is visually striking while accommodating program and optimizing structural performance and, finally, a more theoretical urban design project titled Growing Cities where the Blackbox Studio simulates the emergent growth of a city based on the "happiness" of buildings as determined by nature of their immediate surroundings.

The conclusion of the presentation and the subsequent Q&A took an interesting turn as questions were asked about the reaction to this way of working among designers at SOM. Besserud responded by saying that the response is generally positive. He went on to say that given the particular culture, it can be challenging to implement due to the front end time commitment to construct the "intelligent framework" needed to work this way. Offices that involve themselves in time-sensitive competition commissions can find it challenging to find the time for this. That said, Besserud remained optimistic going on to point out that SOM is actively pursuing grants to further their research into biologically inspired growth models. Additionally, in an attempt to foster a more robust local community of computational designers, he mentioned the Chicago Computational Design Forum (CCDF) which aims to be a multi-disciplinary forum for professionals that use computational methods in a variety of ways.

Monday, April 12, 2010

UHC Workshop 2010 - 1) Seedlings to Vermicomposting: A 3-Part Series

A timely workshop by our friends over at Urban Habitat Chicago. When is the workshop for keeping the squirrels off my tomaters?

Saturday, April 17, 2010 · 10:00 AM
Play in the mud with the staff and volunteers of UHC! These one-hour workshops will cover everything from seedlings to vermicomposting. Bring your lunch and partake in a discussion about the sustainable actions you’re doing at home. A sampling of workshops:

10:00am - 11:00am
Tomatoes and basil are irresistible, and taste best fresh from the garden! Learn how to create your own soil mix to start your seedlings indoors, then we’ll be planting seeds. After a month and a half they’ll be redy to move outdoors, or to a sunny window in a larger pot. The earlier you start the sooner you can be enjoying a caprese sandwich! We’ll discuss plant care and disease control for your plants so you can better tend them as they grow. Fifteen max particpants - register early! Pesented by UHC’s urban agriculturalist, Emily Lake.

11:00am - 12:00pm
What makes something organic? This workshop will introduce you to the basic methods and fundamentals of organic gardening. From preparing the soil, understanding how and what to plant, to au naturale pest control, this workshop will enlighten you to what organic entails. Mike Repkin, UHC’s president-emeritus and President of Repkin Biosystems, will demystify organic. Fifteen max participants - register early!

12:00pm - 1:00pm
Like dirt? Like worms? The benefits of vermicomposting far outweigh the gross factor. Worms take your produce waste and turn it into rich, fertile soil that is ripe for planting. Create your home vermicomposting kit with the help of UHC co-founder, urban composter, gardener, and designer Anna Glenn. Anna will teach you how it’s done, and you can even take home a small beginner kit for a small extra fee (worms not included). Fifteen max participants - register early!

Where & When
Date: Saturday, April 17, 2010
Time: 10:00am - 1:00pm (each workshop is one hour)
Location: Northside College Preparatory High School
(Workshops will be held behind the school)
5501 N. Kedzie Ave., Chicago, IL 60625
Cost: Please pay with cash or check at the door.
MEMBERS: $7.00/workshop or $16.00 for all three
NONMEMBERS: $10.00/workshop or $25.00 for all three
REGISTER NOW for one or more workshops!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Archeworks Summer 2010 Internship

Archeworks is seeking an intern for Summer 2010. The intern will work with the Archeworks Director to generate content for a new publication highlighting alternative urban design and architectural strategies for 21st Century cities. The intern will be responsible for creating graphic diagrams, editing lecture transcripts, soliciting quotes and project documentation, and synthesizing and distilling information from various sources, amongst other tasks. The intern must be motivated, self-sufficient, detail-oriented, and comfortable working with minimal supervision.

The ideal candidate has a strong writing background and is currently enrolled in an architecture, landscape architecture, or urban design graduate program or is a recent graduate. Successful candidates will have a keen understanding of urban and environmental issues and a passion for resourceful urban design as a means of enhancing quality of life in the contemporary American City. Proficiency with Adobe Creative Suite is necessary.

The internship will start in early to mid-May and end in early to mid-August. Exact dates to be determined. The intern will be based at the Archeworks studios in Chicago's River North neighborhood, with occasional flexibility to work remotely. Archeworks can provide a modest stipend for this position.

The application deadline is 5 p.m. CST on Monday, April 19, 2010.

Applicants should submit cover letter, resume, two short writing samples, and digital portfolio or work samples to Katie Vail, Archeworks Program Manager.

Questions can be directed to Katie Vail. No phone inquiries please.

Archeworks was founded in 1994 on the premise that good design should serve everyone. Over the past 16 years, Archeworks has completed over 40 community design projects addressing universal design, sustainability, urban agriculture and ecology, early childhood education, neighborhoods with limited resources, micro-enterprises for women and minorities, and other community-based needs in the urban environment.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

CIC School Outreach Challenge - Save the Date

The Presidents' Challenge

In response to Michael Rogers' Challenge as spelled out in the Spring Envision newsletter of AIA Illinois (see above), the Community Interface Committee is organizing a program for interested architects to reach out to public schools.

On Wednesday, April 21st at 6pm, at the Chicago Chapter Office of AIA an education specialist from the Chicago Architecture Foundation will talk about reaching out to public schools, what to expect, what to present, how to address the students, etc. An informal discussion will follow.

There will be more details as the date approaches but check out the challenge and take the initiative.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Saturday, April 10: Chicago Avenue Urban Farm - Community Conversation

The proposal presented to Fourth Presbyterian a few weeks ago.

This design charette is a result of the AIA Bridge Program. See previous posts as well as Michael Burlando's shared photos from Growing Power's farm near Milwaukee. This is an open invite:

Saturday, April 10, 2010
The purpose of this conversation (“charrette”) is to gather input from the Cabrini community and other interested parties about the establishment of a new Urban Farm on Chicago Avenue. We would like you to help refine and develop an initial design plan for what we would like the Urban Farm to provide to the community and how to meet our collective vision.

You are here today to help us:

Clarify vision elements. The community stakeholders have already outlined a basic vision for the Urban Farm, but elements of that vision need further definition and illustration to reflect community wants and needs. The vision includes providing affordable, fresh produce in the neighborhood through year-round food production; developing neighborhood youth through learning about sustainable agriculture and gaining job training skills, and laying the groundwork for several micro-enterprises.

Identify preliminary action program steps. Help prioritize what steps we should take to implement the plan. The results of this charrette will be reviewed by the Chicago Avenue Urban Farm Advisory Council.

Let us know you whether you plan to join us by contacting Natasha Holbert, Program Director, at 312-274-3831.

Saturday, April 10th, 2010 - Schedule
8:30 a.m. - Coffee & Meet/Greet
9:00 a.m. - Welcome & Introduction: Introductions and Presentation of Background
9:30 a.m. - Charrette 101: Introduction to the Terminology and Language of Planning & Design
10:00 a.m. - Break
10:15 a.m. - AIA Bridge Presentation: Engagement Exercise – Presentation of Chicago Avenue Project
11:15 a.m. - Goals and Issues: Small Group Exercises and Report Back
12:00 p.m. - Synthesis: Facilitated Integration of Concept Plans by AIA Bridge
12:30 p.m. - Action Program and Next Steps: Facilitated Discussion of Implementation Priorities
1:00 p.m. - Adjourn

8:30am to 1:00pm
Chicago Avenue Urban Farm
444 W Chicago Avenue (Chicago and Hudson)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Archi-treasures 2010 Design Charettes

Calling all volunteers.

Archi-treasures 2010 Design Charettes have been established as follows:

Saturday, April 17, 10am - 2pm
BJ Wright Courts
1354 S. Morgan

Saturday, April 24, 10am - 2pm
100 N. Hermitage

Saturday, May 1, 10am - 2pm
Legends South
4034 S. State Street

Saturday, May 8, 10am - 2pm
Germano-Millgate Apartments
8802 S. Burley

For those of you that are new to Archi-treasures and/or Archi-treasures charettes, you are invited to a brief orientation from 6pm - 7pm on Wednesday, April 7 at the Archi-treasures office, 3339 West Division. They will be sharing a little about the history of Archi-treasures as well as talking through their charette process. This is an optional orientation for those that are new or for veterans who would like to share their experience.

You can also get an idea of what you're in for by searching for Archi-treasures on this blog. Contact Vanessa with your interest.

PS: April 10th date changed to April 17th and May 8th confirmed.