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ARCH 372 (Third-Year Undergraduate Design Studio).


SCENARIO. The IIT Institute of Design has a mission to integrate design methodology with other disciplines. The Institute is currently located on the seventh floor of an office building near downtown Chicago. This studio project asks you to reimagine the Institute in the context of the IIT Main Campus, in two proposals: the first proposal shall be structured in steel and the second in concrete. The total volume of each proposal cannot exceed 250,000 cubic feet. The proposals shall be sited on the field north of Crown Hall (southwest corner of State Street and 33rd).

PEDAGOGY. This studio is a collaborative environment which depends strongly on everyone’s participation in spoken critique and material production. Individual desk critiques are not conducted. Instead, a typical studio meeting begins with a short all-group meeting followed by small group meetings and concluding with a summary whole-group meeting. The primary agenda item for every small group meeting is for each student to demonstrate, through evidence, that iterations are being tested, and to offer and receive critique from others in the group.





ARCH 371 (Third-Year Undergraduate Design Studio).

PROJECT 1 FINAL REVIEW. Monday, October 9, 2017, 1:30pm-4:50pm, 5th Floor, 650 Northern Pacific Avenue.

SCENARIO. An institutional client wishes to build a new art gallery in downtown Chicago for the purpose of exhibiting a collection of sculptural pieces. The client expressly wishes the architecture of the new gallery to be a contemporary transformation of Peter Zumthor’s Kunsthaus Bregenz, modified into a small wood structure.

PEDAGOGY. The project begins with each student preparing two distinct transformations of the Kunsthaus. Midway through the project, the students exchange their work with each other. To conclude the project, each student refines the "inherited" project into a final iteration.





M. Arch. Thesis 2017.

MIDTERM REVIEWS. March 6 and March 8, 2017. Studio 4(W), 650 Northern Pacific Avenue.

FINAL REVIEWS. May 1 and May 2, 2017.



Nick Braaksma

How can architecture create context and facilitate understanding of the information presented in public libraries through both physical and digital media to encourage community engagement? This thesis analyzes the architectural relationship between the public, the city, and information.

Historically, library buildings have acted as the interface through which the public accessed information. As the way we access information has changed, libraries have changed as well. The proliferation of easy and remote access to information can lead to the assumption that libraries, as portals to information, are obsolete. However, information that is less exclusive is also less edited, driving the amount of information up and driving the quality of any given piece of information down. Among the strategies to interpret this large amount of information, context is one of the most valuable. To provide context, this thesis focuses on public library architecture as a lens for understanding and viewing the city.


Paolo Pardo

Because of the large number of refugees and displaced people in the Middle East there is a need to house people. Compared to European countries and other countries nearer to the conflicts which displace people, the United States has had a very minor involvement in taking refugees. The United states has an obligation to house people in a fashion which respects their needs, something that is often overlooked in many refugee housing projects. My project uses prefabricated modular construction to create “half of a good home” which can be expanded by the occupants without the use of construction machinery. This system is then placed along Main Avenue, in Fargo ND, a street which in the past has served newcomers to the region.


Jacob Haack

How does design differentiate between a rural site and urban site? If the parameters are set and the same program is used for each, will one context be more successful than the other?

This thesis focuses on three issues: the rising number of veterans suffering from PTSD, too many stray dogs and over-crowding in animal shelters, and the fact that both of these issues affect the entire country. This thesis creates a new typology: a rehabilitation center that takes in Veterans affected by a traumatic experience combined with a no-kill animal shelter. The veterans will work with the dogs to train them to be service dogs. It has been proven that dogs naturally have healing effects on humans. The rural site will be in Little Falls, MN and the urban site is in Minneapolis, MN. Although, having the same function of building(s) on each, these two sites will have very different designs that are affected by their context. The rural site will have more than one building, and they will be spread out across the site to create more of a campus feel. And the urban site will be more condensed and have a more vertical building that fits on the site. Both sites will deal with keeping the public animal shelter public and the private rehabilitation center private. At the end, there will be two complete designs that can be compared side-by-side. Can both be successful models that can be used in a rural or urban context all over the country or will one be more successful overall?


Kristine Wentworth

Many industrial zones within an urban setting decimate any sense of place and alienate neighborhoods from one another. These pockets of automobile and truck orientated areas, drastically out of scale with their surroundings, create physical and social barriers between the people on the outside and industrial workers within.

This thesis project reexamines how the industrial typology resides within an urban setting. By integrating them within a mixed-use platform, we can begin to enhance the human-industrial experience and bridge the gap between industry workers and the neighborhoods in which they work. Through the examination of the issue of scale and the increase in transparency of interior functions, the industrial typology becomes accessible to all. Rearranging the interior circulation from horizontal to vertical allows for a reduced building footprint and more attention to green spaces around the sites, all while maximizing the utility and design of the building.


Nick Lunde

The idea of a bridge has been around throughout the history of humankind, whether it was a log crossing a mud hole or the Golden Gate Bridge spanning over a mile. What these two widespread examples have in common is that they are both solely used to travel over an obstacle.

The University of Minnesota's campus in Minneapolis is divided by the Mississippi River and is predominantly crossed using the Washington Avenue Bridge (pictured above). The need for an additional crossing point as well as a more interactive space for the students and community alike is something that could greatly benefit the University and surrounding area.

With bridges being greatly utilized in larger cities, additional uses and activities can be successfully integrated into bridge design to create a more engaging and impactful space for the users. This in turn will give bridges more of a purpose by creating a destination and landmark rather than just a passage.


Christopher Carter

This thesis aims to utilize architecture as the medium to connect children to their environments and to develop them into social beings. Jan Gehl, a Danish architect and urban design consultant, once said, “Only architecture that considers human scale and interaction is successful architecture.” This interaction, scale versus the human counterpart, is emphasized in this thesis as the key motivating element. The project stretches the boundaries of how we view scale and focuses on creating a collage of texturized pieces that increase reaction and retention to place. To complement these complex surfaces, purity of overall form is employed. The designed school becomes not only a place to learn from its educators, but also a place of unlimited interaction with the building. This form intertwined with interaction strives to develop an epoch in our history. A breathable memory from experience.

Building upon this change, or movement, is to shift from the typical to an a-typical educational facility and a chance to foster imagination. The socio-cognitive development and critical reasoning of children is constantly being suppressed by institutions of dulled expression. This project explores and expresses the fluid reality which children live in and are connected to. A welcome departure from strict programs and over generalized traditional pedagogies.


Austin Foss

Cities thrive on human interaction, and it is what makes urban living possible. Social connection is as much of a need to human beings as food or water. It is increasingly easier for the populace to become, essentially, “hermits.” With the increasing technology in social media, internet shopping, and residential comforts, many do not see a reason to experience the world around them, along with the people in their neighborhood. This is increasingly prominent when the weather outside is less than ideal.

In many smaller northern cities, such as Grand Forks, North Dakota, interaction decreases during the winter season. During the winter, the climate can become uncomfortable to inhabitants, thus creating less active members of neighborhoods. Through climate-sensitive urban and architectural design, we can create more comfortable environments for city dwellers, creating more active places to live, and, in turn, encourage human connection.


Ally Hatcher

My goal is to design a space that helps bridge the gap between Deaf and Hearing culture. Incorporated in the design is a theatre space where performances by the National Theatre for the Deaf will be held. This allows the art of Deaf Theatre to be seen and experienced by both the Deaf and Hearing populations. In addition, a Sensory Experience will be designed. This sequence of spaces will educate and simulate life as a Deaf individual. The spaces look to highlight a “world without sound” and educate the hearing population while bringing both cultures together.


Alex Jansen

Blending architecture with landscape is not a new feature in design. For the Montessori schooling system, directly relating the natural world into the school’s methods of teaching is crucial for the development of the children. This thesis connects the two ideas in an investigational method catering to the child’s memory, experience, and the ability to explore freely within limits of safety and ingenuity.

The project is designed for children ages 3 to 12, set up in multi-age groupings for peer learning, uninterrupted blocks of work time, and guided choice of work activity, as the Montessori system adopts. Dr. Maria Montessori believed that teacher, child, and environment create a learning circle for the child, prepared by the teacher, while encouraging the independence they need to prepare themselves for the world of adolescences.

By creating artificial space for a Montessori school, the designer must be aware of the needs of the people occupying the volume and the needs around them. The program, though, changes culturally and locally. In Alexandria, MN, the specific site was chosen to indulge the needs for this region giving children the ability to maneuver through the site’s landscapes in a very real and experimental way.


Alyssa Zachman

Virtual reality technology is continually growing and is now expanding successfully into the realm of architecture. This technology can be used to enhance both the designer’s as well as the user’s experience in the design process when it comes to envisioning how a space will look as if it were already built. While this technology is starting to be utilized in the architectural industry, the videogame design industry was at the forefront; testing it with virtual spaces that they designed. These two industries are very similar and have a crossover of both people and technology. Trained architects have been interchanging careers into the design of videogames for a while now, and now the technology of videogames is becoming inherently useful in architecture firms. This crossover is essential for both fields to continually grow with clients’ demand for a better way to do something.

This thesis studies the experience of interior architecturally designed spaces within a virtual realm as applied to a videogame platform and how that process of designing and result is both alike and different to a real life architectural design and walkthrough experience.

Instead of designing a space to fit within a defined building, this thesis looks at designing spaces from the inside out. This process involves looking at a space from several interior perspective views and what it is like in that space that then can become more formal architectural drawings such as floor plans and elevations rather than traditional design methods which usually are designed in an opposite order. Designing in this way allows for fruition of an architectural experience that can be explored through the virtual reality of a videogame, creating a crossover of both architecture and videogame and virtual reality design.



Wednesday, November 9, 2016.

Review of student work. Studio 2(W), 650 Northern Pacific Avenue, NDSU. Invited guests: Jessica Garcia-Fritz (SDSU), Federico Garcia-Lammers (SDSU)




Wednesday, October 12, 2016 (1:30pm-4:00pm).

JOIN US for an informal review of student work. Studio 2(W), 650 Northern Pacific Avenue, NDSU.

ENCOUNTER. Like many Midwestern cities of its size, the city of Winona, Minnesota includes core urban neighborhoods surrounded by suburban and quasisuburban developments. Atypically, Winona also includes four distinct floating neighborhoods. Collectively, these neighborhoods (Latsch Island, Frog Slough, Aghaming Park, and the East End Boat Harbor) include a small number of year-round residences together with seasonally inhabited residences and boat storage structures.

STRUCTURE. The typical floating home in Winona is constructed on pontoons or on a floating platform incorporating sealed metal drums. Concrete floats, converted boats, or logs also appear. In the typical Winona floating home, the walls, floors, and roof are constructed on a light wood frame with a structurally contributing membrane of plywood or corrugated sheet metal. Conventionally, Winona floating homes are flexibly attached to the land by means of sliding connections to driven piles, steel cables attached to trees, or a combination of both methods. Because the river level varies seasonally and from year to year, floating homes need to allow for vertical movement relative to the land.

Student design proposals are required to accommodate the year-round living activities for a small family of three. Design proposals must not enclose a volume greater than 4,000 cubic feet, and no dimension shall exceed 30 feet. Student design proposals must rigorously define the support, structure, and enclosure for a floating home. Proposals must specifically include the details for the home’s wood frame.





Thesis Reviews: May 4 and 5, 2016.

Final reviews for ARCH 772 (Design Thesis).



Wednesday, May 4: 5th Floor, 650 Northern Pacific Avenue.


10:10am / Alicia Fadley.

Socrates said it best: “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.”(Meyerhoff) When stimulating the brain and its creativity in learning one needs to focus not on how to drive information in, but instead excite and inspire. The premise for this thesis is the topic of space and how it can encourage creativity and advance a person in their learning pursuits. In doing this, one must look at different aspects of space such as acoustics, natural light, spatial organization, the movement through the space, how the student interacts with what is being taught, and other aspects.

The design of this thesis is a Tutoring Center set in Manchester, NH, a city with some of the lowest test scores in the state of New Hampshire. The design is centered around a atrium that brings the students together and creates an environment of shared knowledge and techniques in learning. The building is placed on an unused park in the east part of the city near the Merrimack River. The remaining site will be redesigned into a park more suitable for the neighborhood, drawing in the children of the Center as well families and those working in the nearby hospital.


11:20am / Matthew Axtmann.

Can architecture become an extension of its landscape through the replication of nature’s innate characteristics? This thesis analyzes the integration of the built environment with nature.

Humans have been building and creating architecture for centuries using methods developed throughout history. However, the earth and its tectonics have been erecting and molding our planet for billions of years. Looking at the earliest versions of human infrastructure and civilization, it can be seen that original “architecture” was constructed in the void left by the natural landscape. Civilizations such as the Anasazi used the protection of a cantilevered mountain edge to build under for protection. The Incan empire built upon the terraced steps of Machu Picchu. These early nations let the landscape determine their infrastructure. The ability to modernize these rudimental concepts can be a testament to human nature. More complex and tentative adaptations can be made to our landscape integration with a more diverse way of thinking. We can again resort to the natural environment for directing and determining how we construct our future buildings. If architecture begins to react the way humans, animals, ecosystems, and environments act, it becomes one in the same; a harmonious synthesis of architecture and the natural word.


1:20pm / Benjamin Strehlow.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) continues to affect a larger number of people as the medical world expands and broadens its definitions. This disorder currently touches the lives of millions of individuals, leading to an increase in demand for higher continued education, training services, and more affordable housing. As available resources fail to meet this ever-increasing demand, families struggle in their search for answers, support and help as society pays the price with inefficient, ineffective, and short-term solutions.

As we begin to cater more and more towards the needs of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders, it is as equally important that we look to the future lives of these individuals. This thesis project aims to create a community living and workplace training center in Rochester, Minnesota that aids young adults with ASD, struggling with the transition into society after high school. Research in architecture designed specifically for autistic needs investigates and analyzes how the built environment can respond positively to moments often negative or overwhelming. It is through these experiences that opportunities occur in these individuals for greater skill-building and communication.


2:30pm / Cory Cwiak.

The reality of prisoners is a stark one. Based on crimes against others and society, they enter an oppressive environment defined by the violence, paranoia, dehumanization, and depression within it. They are surrounded by architecture designed to strip away their privacy, dignity, and humanity. Their reality becomes one devoid of all the things that might engender the type of self-reflection and rehabilitation the system should seek to promulgate in prisoners prior to release.

This project challenges the status quo of the prototypical U.S. prison. Through an evaluation of its parts and processes, the “correctional facility” is deconstructed and reassembled with consideration to the elements of chaos theory and the concept of strange attractors. The restructured product is influenced by literature, law, psychology, humanity and space.

Located in the historic Brooklyn Navy Yard, the institution wraps around, towers above and strikes through existing structures on the campus of a former naval hospital complex. On the ground, the facility is devoted to education while the incarcerated live in a second world that perches above the existing reality. The middle is equidistant between free expression and contemplative thought.


3:40pm / Peter Mueller.

By using photographic techniques, this thesis seeks to answer the question of how photography can influence architectural design. Noteworthy techniques include using the geometry of views within photographs, photo-montage expression and interpreting existing photographs to assist in allowing an existing building to respond to overall site changes.

The site is focused around the Soap Factory in Minneapolis, within a historic district just north of the Stone Arch Bridge. Using photographic techniques to drive the overall design decisions, the end result is a renovated art gallery.

The aim for this thesis is to not only explore and create comprehensive design solutions through photography, but to introduce discussions and further exploration of the numerous ways a broad artistic medium such as photography can influence architecture on top of capturing the finished project.


Thursday, May 5: Room 408, 650 Northern Pacific Avenue.

9:00am / Leigh Ann Mehs.


Hanapuna is an architectural solution to a global issue. Coral reefs around the world are endangered and on the verge of extinction due to rising CO2 emissions, coral bleaching, trawling, and run off pollution—to name a few. Although coral reefs are comprised of less than .5% of the ocean floor, it’s estimated that more than 90% of marine species are directly or indirectly dependent on the reefs.

This architectural project aims to protect, preserve and promote a healthy living environment northeast of the Main Island of Hawaii through extensive research, and applying solutions to many of the threats to the reefs. Hawaii is an ideal location for this project because it holds 60% of the reefs in the world and much of the wildlife is endemic to this area.

“Out of sight, out of mind” is a phrase I hear all too often when talking about coral reefs. Often times it’s far too easy to forget about the very things we don’t see. Hanapuna is a project that closely studies the relationship between land and sea and how a person can experience a delicate environment without harming it. Through architecture, this thesis aims to open the eyes of world, inform the public of the destruction happening just below the surface, and with time—rebuild a lost reef.


10:10am / Kaspari Hoffmann.

The premise of this project studies how people regularly encounter architecture, and how design has the potential to positively impact mental health while enabling more independence in the lives of people who struggle with mental disorders.

As a product of the research, I am proposing the design of a new State Hospital for North Dakota, with the new hospital moving from its current Jamestown location (which neighbors James River Correctional Center) to a more central site located within Bismarck, North Dakota.

This design aims to develop a built environment that helps people with debilitating mental disorders get onto the road of recovery and ultimately learn how to integrate themselves back into society and lead healthier lifestyles.

There are seven major units within the hospital, as represented by the graphic above. The units in order from left to right are: Chemical Dependency, Women’s Intensive Care Unit, Geriatric/Psychiatric, Sexual Disorders, New Admissions, Personality Disorders, and Dementia.


11:20am / Jarrett Mork.

Set in Portland, OR, V is a study of architecture’s impact of the way plants grow. Though there are many new forms of vertical farming in today’s modern world, they offer little to the architectural realm. V focuses on how we can benefit people, agriculture, and culture.

Through LED lighting, advanced water retention and purification, and specified daylighting techniques, we can grow better food for the world. By utilizing modern technology, pesticides and herbicides are removed and thus provide a healthier crop for the surrounding area. The aim isn’t to remove the average farmer, but to allow them to move into the city or to repurpose their established farms.

With a little more than 83 acres contained within this building, I aim to provide a concept model for future vertical farm typologies. By implementing residential units along with plants, V is on track to provide an urban oasis for a city. The future of the human population is set for 9 billion by 2050, with 80% within an urban environment. It is time we take the future as seriously as we take the present, and with V in mind we can achieve a healthy future for all.


1:20pm / Matthew Nohr.

The office environment of the 21st century is a rapidly changing landscape. As the social dynamics and needs of the labor force change, so does the architectural nature of work space. The need of the new growing labor force is a place that sparks new connections and provides flexible space and use. These needs are different from the standard organizational model that has high privacy needs.

Reflecting the hierarchal structure of organizations and their need to demonstrate roles of authority and status, historical planning built individual work spaces for managing staff and smaller spaces for the remaining employees. However, the rise of contract labor, small businesses, and startups have demonstrated different organizational structures that benefit from social interaction with the community.

This thesis studies what unique architectural implications are present with socially focused companies and the impact of shared space and resources in a building rooted in the historical downtown of Fargo, ND. From the research gathered on this topic, principles of approaching social office design are identified and implemented to inform future projects of a similar nature.


2:30pm / Shannon Hanson.

This thesis aims to better design for those with hearing or sight loss. Since these are sensory disabilities they directly affect the way in which people experience architecture. With the numbers rising of people experiencing hearing loss earlier in life as well as an increasingly aged population with deteriorating eyesight, this should be a growing concern for people designing the spaces which people inhabit. Exploring how spaces can be engaged without the use of sight or sound can inform how designs can be made better for everyone.

The goal of this project is not to reinvent architecture in an obvious way that alienates or repulses those who are fully abled but instead seeks to remedy the problems that blind and deaf individuals face with common designs with simple, elegant and subtle changes.


Past Review: Midterm Thesis Reviews: March 7, 9, and 11, 2016.

Midterm reviews for ARCH 772 (Design Thesis).


Monday, March 7, 2016:

Photo (Christenson): Cory Cwiak, process models.


Cory Cwiak ["This project challenges the status quo of the prototypical U.S. prison through an evaluation of parts and processes influenced by literature, law, psychology, humanity and space."]

Kaspari Hoffmann ["A design which seeks to help resolve the issues surrounding the treatment and recovery of mental illness while attempting to eliminate the stigma associated with the process within a community."]

Matt Nohr ["My thesis explores how architectural techniques influence the way a community grows by developing a coworking office in Fargo, North Dakota."]

Alicia Fadley ["Studying how space can stimulate the learning process and improve overall health."]

Invited Guest Reviewers for Monday: Troy Raisanen, M. Arch. (1:30-5:00), Tiffany Fier, M. F. A. (1:30-5:00), Mark Engler, M. F. A. (1:30-5:00), Betsy Birmingham, Ph. D. (1:30-3:00)


Wednesday, March 9, 2016:

Photo (Christenson): Matthew Axtmann, presentation.


Photo (Christenson): Ben Strehlow, presentation.


Matthew Axtmann ["My thesis explores the relationship between architecture and landscapes attempt to become one singular cohesive system that responds seamlessly with its surroundings."]

Ben Strehlow ["This thesis project aims to create a living community and workplace training center in Rochester, Minnesota, that aids young adults and adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), struggling with independence and finding a life-fulfilling career."]

Shannon Hanson ["This thesis aims to discover how architecture can better serve individuals who are blind or deaf."]

Invited Guest Reviewers for Wednesday: Peter Atwood, M. Arch. (1:30-5:00), Joel Davy, FAIA (1:30-5:00), Betsy Birmingham, Ph. D. (1:30-3:00), David Bertolini, AIA, Ph. D. (1:30-2:45), Kent Sandstrom, Ph. D.


Friday, March 11, 2016:

Photo (Christenson): Jarrett Mork, presentation.


Photo (Christenson): Leigh Mehs, presentation.


Leigh Mehs ["My thesis project is about discovering a way architecture can help to rebuild an endangered environment such as the coral reefs and bring them back from the brink of extinction."]

Peter Mueller ["How elements of photography influence architectural design."]

Jarrett Mork ["Architecture's influence on the agricultural method."]

Invited Guest Reviewers for Friday: Malini Srivastava, AIA, CPHC (1:30-5:00), Matt Fremstad, M. Arch. (1:30-5:00), Beth Ingram, Ph. D.



Past Review: Final Thesis Reviews: May 4-5, 2015.

Final reviews for ARCH 772 (Design Thesis).

8:30am, Monday, May 4: ESAU RODRIGUEZ PADILLA / Oak Hospital. In August 2005, hurricane Katrina destroyed and flooded most of New Orleans. Due to the hurricanes, many people were traumatized requiring a place to recover. In addition to trauma, healthcare facilities should focus on rising healthcare conditions such as be heart conditions, diabetes, cancer and asthma. Overall, designing a well-rounded healthcare facility should embrace the context, allowing the spaces to heal occupants physiologically by incorporating nature and the landscape. The next step to this puzzle is to observe how biological evolutions have transformed in New Orleans. These studies will allow for discoveries on how specific natural features can generate architectural structures. By researching biomimetic elements throughout New Orleans (specifically the Seven Sister Oak Tree) I will hopefully discover elements that assist my design. As we continue to separate from nature, we are potentially decreasing the ability to nurture from it. Throughout my design, a subconscious healing environment will be created through the fusion of biophilia and the built form. Spaces will be formed by natural materials followed by passive systems; forming an ecological building. A key element to my design will be the integration of air, light, water, and plants within every room, if possible.


9:30am, Monday, May 4: RON BRINKMAN / Steering and Salvaging: A Proposal Toward Automotive Recycling and Research Prototyping. Automotive design and recycling are essential industries in today’s efforts fighting unsustainability. Yet these industries are too often excluded and separated from one another. I am proposing to design an urban environment automotive recycling and prototyping center. I am proposing this facility in the Northern American heartland of St. Paul, MN, where the vehicles are prone to exceptional environmental wear and tear. A research facility of this manner has potential to unlock countless recycling strategies in regards to the automotive industry. I propose to explore and present a life cycle sustainable, architectural solution for the creation of an Automotive recycling and prototyping research facility. My goal is to facilitate automotive design for recycling. To activate these gritty sustainability practices, architects must focus on redesigning modern automotive research facilities and integrating them with automotive recycling processes. By capitalizing on the existing automotive recycling transportation processes (by truck, train and barge), I’m proposing a function dominant workshop and laboratory building to architecturally facilitate automotive recycling research.


10:30am, Monday, May 4: BRIAN GLUR / The (Maker) Factory. Creativity, innovation and social interaction are key elements of being human. How can architecture influence these traits and create an environment that not only inspires but allows for expression of these by means of crafting and collaboration? This thesis focuses on creating a large scale innovation center/makerspace for a major university. The typology also includes social spaces, modular working and meeting spaces, multipurpose classrooms and commons areas with a coffee shop and cafe. The design is split into two separate buildings connected via walkways to allow for pedestrian circulation as well as outdoor gathering areas. The main level of each features public spaces and the upper floors house the technology labs, studios, work areas and administration areas. The site is located on the north end of “the mall” on the University of Minnesota’s Minneapolis campus. This was chosen for its high pedestrian traffic and large student body needed to support and fund a project of this nature. “The Factory” would be available to all students and would work similar to a campus wellness center with trained staff available to assist. Estimated square footage is approximately 25,000 S. F.


11:30am, Monday, May 4: KENZIE LYSENG / Effective Architecture. Architecture has the ability to directly influence the function of a space and the occupants who utilize that space. In this way, this project will use architecture to encourage student learning and productivity and improve occupant wellbeing. These outcomes can be achieved by implementing design solutions that support the following: good air quality, thermal comfort, easy wayfinding, proper acoustics, natural lighting, social interaction, occupant control, color therapy, reasonable proportions, connections to nature, comforting forms, secure environments, active design, engaging aesthetics, and comfortable furnishings. All of these factors have been found to have a direct impact upon student learning and wellbeing. It will be an important to find a appropriate balance between all of these factors. For example, too much natural daylighting can be overwhelming and hard on the eyes, yet too little natural daylighting can be uncomfortable and straining. The goals of this project can be achieved by reducing the stress inducing factors from the built environment so that occupants are able to be comfortable, productive and happy.


1:30pm, Monday, May 4: ALYSSA STROH / Jordheim’s Active Renovation. This thesis design is influenced by a question that pertains to how the built environment influences active living within a community, and narrows down to focus in on designing a building structure for active use by the public. The typology for the building is more, or less, a wellness center. Though, this is not typical wellness center that only has fitness equipment and gyms in the building. The intent for the design is to use the building itself as a gym and have each program and layout of space become the method of working out in and of itself. For example, rather than having only lifting machines, have the stairs in the building be long, build, and tall for the occupants to have to climb up; which result in great cardio and muscle building activity. The site location is chosen in my hometown, Dickinson, ND. The building is located downtown to draw in more people to the downtown area and give an opportunity to have a destination for locals and visitors alike to go to. The current state of the historical building is an abandoned hotel, built in 1951; but has not been used in the past 10 years, other than office space and a taekwando gym on the first two floors.


2:30pm, Monday, May 4: CRYSTAL RINKENBERGER / Uunaktuktikigakvik, the Place of the Warm Forest. I am illustrating my comprehensive design skills by designing a conservatory in the tundra of northern Alaska. This is where nature can be at its most beautiful, but also at its most treacherous. My project is sited in Barrow, Alaska - the northernmost city in North America. It is 300 miles above the Arctic Circle and is only accessible by airplane. The region experiences two and a half months of 24-hour sun in the summer and two and a half months of 24-hour darkness in the winter. The Inupiat Eskimos have survived in the area for hundreds of years and technology advances their communities ability to thrive and flourish. Idealistic in my preconceptions that I could design a refuge for the senses where residents could take a break from the snow and be rejuvenated during the long winters, the conservatory has since been coupled with traditional greenhouses and classrooms for producing fresh fruits and vegetables for the village. While this is not overtly a solution to rampant social problems, it is a step toward strengthening the community and passing on traditions. The chance of a polar bear wandering on-site is the least of my concerns for this project. Designing a building upon permafrost, with periods of no sun, and an intense climate have been the primary challenges to overcome in design.


3:30pm, Monday, May 4: TARA ANDERSON / Artisanal Collaborative. The term Artisan came into being during the Middle Ages. People who were considered Artisans were those who were Masters (or Apprentices) in a specific craft. Many of these crafts are still prevalent in today’s society. Artisanal Collaborative is a project that will encourage downtown business growth, within the selected community, through public involvement. The utilization of studio, kitchen, retail, and learning spaces in the final project will help improve the local economy of Forest Lake, Minnesota. Simply put this is an arts incubator. It is a building that provides the resources that will help art based businesses build up their clientele and at the same time provides a creative collaborative environment where local artists and the community can inspire each other. A community needs something to be proud about to keep them invested. Without an invested community, how can small businesses expect to succeed in small city environments? The Forest Lake downtown area has great potential. The scenic downtown should be celebrated, not avoided or ignored. Not only will this project help small businesses grow, it will also engage the community through aspects such as providing a learning environment and a retail cooperative where people can discover and learn about local products. This building will mend the gap that exists between the community and its downtown.


4:30pm, Monday, May 4: CHELSEA LENZ / Senseful Design - Winery & Restaurant. This thesis - senseful design - explores the relationship that our senses have with architecture. Can a holistic design for our senses create a more meaningful experience with architecture? This question is answered in the design of a Winery and Restaurant in Rochester, Minnesota that encompasses all of your senses to create a more meaningful and memorable architectural experience.   

8:30am, Tuesday, May 5: NOAH HARVEY / Resiliency: Creating Necessary Connection in an Unstable Environment. This is a study of how connection are made between people in an extreme time of need and also what happens to those connections when they are not immediately in use. It is also a study on the resiliency and sustainability of a built project. Through careful and precise research and experimentation I hope to create an example of what design can be. The premise of this project is to develop a design example for resilient and sustainable practices and how they are more imperative in a seismically active zone. It is my intent to create a necessary connection between the citizens and each other along with disaster relief and also the outside world in the event of a natural disaster. Society is beginning to realize that we have a major problem with how we are going about things such as energy use, building practices and natural resource use. I believe the only way to design is with resiliency in mind and I believe that once an example is set towards resiliency others will follow. Claim: Create a public building that creates connections between people in a time of need and will stand the test of time.


9:30am, Tuesday, May 5: KELLIE MCCULLOUGH / Unifying Dimensions. The practice of adaptive reuse transforms the way people interact with and perceive an existing building. From the designer’s perspective, how does he/she respect and highlight building history yet provide new, functional uses for its spaces? Is there a way to interweave the past with the present, perhaps by first analyzing the building’s previous and current relationship responses and then paying respect to its identity features (structure, formality, space usage, and materials)? This project located in southwest St. Paul demonstrates how idle, historic Fort Snelling barracks can be transformed into multi-use establishments through the design strategies of element exposure, providing new views, and complementary additions. Barrack building #17 will contain an international hostel that focuses on preserving the building’s integrity and emphasizing the surrounding essence of the site.


10:30am, Tuesday, May 5: SARAH CROOK / Sustainable Engagement: Promoting Healthy Choices. The act of learning is a continuous process. It is one of the crucial life skills that we never stop practicing. This museum is an educational facility that teaches with its architecture as well as exhibits, classes and workshops. Sustainable architecture increases awareness of healthy choices while advertising positive results. An interactive museum allows community members to come together and recognize their strengths as well as improve the health of themselves, their personal goals and environment. This recognition of ideas has the power to influence the culture through the physical and intellectual experience between the built and natural environment while promoting a healthy community. It is important to engage visitors with every sense to fully emerge them in an experience. The museum offers classes to adults and businesses in addition to children because adults are the ones that complete the learning experience. When students see adults making healthy choices they will mature looking up to the decision those adults made and continue to make them themselves. Physically seeing adults and peers walk, recycle and turn off lights will create a social example. The steps that will be illustrated throughout this thesis to make the change to worth- living integrated development will be based on a cycle of education, opportunity, engage, track progress, communicate and celebrate results.


11:30am, Tuesday, May 5: SHAWN SENESCALL / Adapting an Icon: Adaptive Reuse of Historic Downtown Theaters. Downtown historic theaters once served as icon landmarks for our communities. However, because of cultural innovations these theaters have become a forgotten asset to our communities landscape and social identity. This thesis investigates how a series of distinct community theaters can be adaptively reused to encourage a new generations form of social engagement. Through an investigation of existing features and characteristics of these buildings, five theaters were selected to be adaptively reused as a social environment - unique to the community in which it is situated. An emphasis in design solutions will be placed in addressing the unique characteristics of a theater: the sloped floor, projecting balcony, the dark and intimate feeling of the auditorium, and the grand marquee. Questions that will be addressed through this investigation include: How can theaters be adapted while retaining their character defining qualities? What new design solutions can evolve from a relatively consistent building language? Can design help to socially revitalize a previously abandoned and unused structure?



Past Review: Midterm Thesis Reviews: March 9, 11, and 13, 2015.

Midterm reviews for ARCH 772 (Design Thesis).

JOIN US and learn about the work being done this semester by twelve students in Mike Christenson's section. This is an OPEN HOUSE review of IN-PROCESS work. All students, staff, and faculty are welcome to attend.

LOCATION: BREAKOUT 3 (Room 408, 650 Northern Pacific Avenue).

Past Review: Wednesday, November 19, 2014.

A review of the OILPATCH studio (ARCH 771).

This studio investigates the intersection of industrialization / infrastructure / environment currently under way in the North Dakota OILPATCH. The studio’s goal is to develop a robust methodology for architectural analysis and design within a rapidly expanding, quasi-urban territory. Student projects vary in focus but are held to rigorous standards for representation and execution.

Architecture is a social and political act. To attempt to carry it out in isolation is counterproductive. In this studio, meeting times are above all times to discuss and debate the contents, merits, qualities, processes, assumptions, and implications of student work.



Past Review: Friday, November 15, 2013.

A review of work completed by students in ARCH 771 (Advanced Architectural Design). Students shared their experimental work in "PARASITIC ARCHITECTURE" using the software applications Rhino and Grasshopper to design architectural interventions on the TIMES BUILDING in Kyoto, Japan, originally designed by Tadao Ando.

Past review: Friday, November 15, 2013: Announcement.



Past review: Friday, October 11, 2013.

The students in my section of ARCH 771 (5th-year studio) presented a selection of their experimental work with the software applications Rhino and Grasshopper. (Rhino is a 3D modeling application; Grasshopper is a "graphical editor" for designing parametric alogirthms that generate geometry within the Rhino environment.)

The students are working toward the design of "parasite structures" that will occupy an existing building in Kyoto, Japan, designed by Tadao Ando.

At this point in the project, the students' work is not expected to adhere to an overall "concept" but should rather be understood as experimental -- this is a hypothesis-generating phase, enabled and constrained by the specific software applications in use. Ultimately, the students' work will aim to meet the conditions of "comprehensive design."


Photos: Jetse Vollema. Student Work (detail): Jacklyn Surat.


Past review: January 23-27, 2012.

The students in my section of ARCH 372 (3rd-year studio) took on a visioning project for NDSU's new Science & Math Classroom Building. The reviews were attended by representatives of NDSU's College of Science and Mathematics.

Photos: Mike Christenson; Jacob Reimers.

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