Undergraduate Architecture Studio Travels to Chicago

Building upon the symbolic rise upwards over the last two quarters of the third year studio sequence, Assistant Professor Kristy Balliet's undergraduate architecture design studio traveled to Chicago in mid-April for a three-day study trip to explore Monumental Mid-Rises and their magnificent interior volumes.  The main focus of the trip was to tour The Rookery Building, a major historical precedent, highlighting many of the design issues of the studio and to visit the proposed site, located in downtown Chicago.

Balliet and her students traveled through Chicago with the charge of reconsidering the contemporary mid-rise, focusing on the architectural issues of sequence and entry, development of spatially descriptive spaces, interlocking volumes, exploited geometry, and creation of atmosphere and effect. Additionally, they studied the innate challenges of the mid-rise, including innovative circulation, structural methods, and contemporary forms of rustication, color and material use.  As addressed in Balliet’s studio, the Monumental Mid-Rise is not explicitly a tower but, rather, a block with amplified voids.

In addition to topic specific design research, the Knowlton School travelers also visited Oak Park and Unity Temple, the Illinois Institute of Technology and the University of Illinois at Chicago’s campus and architecture schools. They were given a lecture on Chicago by Alexander Eisenschmidt (UIC) that was introduced by Robert Somol (UIC Director); and toured numerous extraordinary architectural volumes.