Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
“Sustainable Vertical Urbanism: Towards 2050” Design Research Studio Final Review
April 24, 2017
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CHICAGO – Monday, April 24, marked the final review of a year 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, Research Professor, IIT, and CTBUH Academic Coordinator Dr. Peng Du, Visiting Assistant Professor, IIT, the studio explores the sustainability and resiliency in urban environments within the context of accelerating urbanism and climate change, proposing locations and designs for new cities. 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) Continental / Delta or Marsh; (2) Arid / Desert; (3) Continental / Plain or Grasslands; (4) Mountainous / Highlands; and (5) Tropical / Rainforest. These projects were placed to address coming issues within their areas, including many future concerns involving climate change.

Images of the five projects, designed by groups of Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) architecture students. Themes of the projects were: (1) Continental / Delta or Marsh; (2) Arid / Desert; (3) Continental / Plain or Grasslands; (4) Mountainous / Highlands; and (5) Tropical / Rainforest.
Both the previous interim review and final review were held at Crown Hall on IIT campus. In addition to the two studio professors, the review jury also included Vedran Mimica, Associate Dean of Research, IIT, and leaders from Gensler’s Chicago Office including Grant Uhlir, Managing Director and Principal; Russell Gilchrist, Principal; Stephen Katz, Senior Associate; Rebecca Callcott, Senior Associate and Technical Director; and Allan Chung, ‎Project Architect.
Students present their work and receive critiques from the jury.

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. The second semester focused on the community/block scale, 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, climate, and the physical aspects of the location, while focusing on sustainable technologies and systems within their design proposals.

Students present their work and receive critiques from the jury.

Gensler supported the studio throughout the Spring Semester in a variety of capacities, such as holding weekly tutorials, lectures, and critiques during the final review. Throughout the studio, students had the opportunity 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 addition to critiques in the final presentation of the projects.

During final review, students presented the large range of materials produced over the year, ranging from city-scaled urban design to that of individual rooms, creating a comprehensive vision of their city. This culmination left reviewers impressed with the diversity and quality of design responses that the students had evolved over the course of the studio. Students are encouraged to incorporate the reviewer’s final comments into their designs and enter their projects into the CTBUH 2017 International Student Tall Building Design Competition. The projects will be exhibited Friday, May 12, at the annual IIT College of Architecture Open House – a showcase of the year's best student work.

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