Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

“Sustainable Vertical Urbanism: Towards 2050” Design Research Studio Interim Review
February 24, 2017

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CHICAGO  – Friday, February 24, 2017, marked the midterm review of a semester of intense work for the students and tutors of “Sustainable Vertical Urbanism: Towards 2050,” a collaborative design studio undertaken by the IIT College of Architecture, with assistance from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) and Gensler. Taught by CTBUH Executive Director Dr. Antony Wood, IIT Research Professor, and CTBUH Academic Coordinator Dr. Peng Du, IIT Visiting Assistant Professor, the studio explores the sustainability and resiliency in urban environments within the context of accelerating urbanism and climate change, proposing new city locations and urban design. Following a previous semester focusing on the larger global and city scale, students worked in five groups to create block- and building-scale designs within their previous urban visions, pertaining to five different climate zones and terrains including: (1) Arid / Desert; (2) Continental / Delta or Marsh; (3) Continental / Plain or Grasslands; (4) Mountainous / Highlands; and (5) Tropical / Rainforest.

Students present their work and receive critiques from the jury.

Interim reviews were held at Crown Hall on IIT campus. In addition to the two studio professors, the review jury also included leaders from Gensler’s Chicago Office including Grant Uhlir, Managing Director and Principal; Stephen Katz, Senior Associate; and Allan Chung, ‎Project Architect. 

Students presented brief background information on their urban design from semester one, then presented their updated research and detailed design proposals for buildings within the different terrains and climate zones, before receiving critiques on their work. The jury reviewed each of the student projects and provided comments for further development of the design.

Antony Wood (left) and Stephen Katz (right) provide feedback on student designs.

As a two-semester Cloud Studio program at IIT, the first semester addressed concerns on the global and urban scale regarding the long-term sustainability of the megacity, utilizing research and experimental designs in order to recommend where future cities should be located and how they should be planned. Throughout the semester, students had opportunities to interact with design professionals on multiple occasions, including a tall building presentation and technical tour with Gensler’s Chicago Office, as well as a trip to Shenzhen and Hong Kong for the CTBUH 2016 International Conference.

In the second semester, students are focusing on the community/block scale. Students are currently developing the design of one tall building or a cluster of tall buildings within their urban vision to an advanced level, taking into consideration culture, climatic, and the physical aspects of the location and focusing on sustainable technologies and systems within their design proposals. Gensler is continuing to support the studio throughout the Spring Semester through a variety of capacities, such as weekly tutorials, lectures, and critiques during the final review, which is expected to be held at Crown Hall, IIT, in late April.

Reviewers and students pose with student models after the interim review for a group photo.