Thursday 27 April 2023 marked the final reviews of “Future Timber City,” a collaborative design studio undertaken by IIT College of Architecture, with assistance from CTBUH, in the Masters of Tall Buildings and Vertical Urbanism (MTBVU) program. Five high-profile experts were invited to review the final outputs of the one-year studio project in Crown Hall at IIT: Mehdi Jalayerian, Senior Managing Director, ESD; Reed Kroloff, Dean, IIT College of Architecture; Seetha Poduri, Lead Consultant, WSP; Javier Quintana de Uña, Chief Executive Officer, CTBUH; and Daniel Safarik, Director of Research & Thought Leadership, CTBUH.
MTBVU studio group of two instructors and students behind the early iteration of physical models in Fall 2022.
Under the instruction of Dr. Antony Wood, CTBUH President and Professor in Practice / Director of the MTBVU program at IIT and Dr. Yohan Kim, CTBUH Academic Coordinator and Visiting Assistant Professor / Assistant Director of the MTBVU program at IIT, students were tasked to design a future city of 10 million inhabitants, built out of timber to the greatest extent possible, as a response to contemporary and future pressures of climate change, rapid population growth and massive urbanization.
In semester one, students began with research projects to explore the key viable solutions for the future city in 2070 and beyond (e.g., specific city location; urban densities and organizing principles; urban functions and sizing; forests and trees; energy generation and storage; food production; water; waste; urban transportation systems; and use of mass timber) and integrated the research findings into their design scheme. They continued progressing the design scheme during semester two, developing the urban vision in more detail, and advancing the design of a cluster of tall buildings within the vision to a more detailed level. This phase took into consideration technical aspects of the studio project, on which the students worked in parallel with external experts from CTBUH member companies, in a MTBVU course entitled “Tall Building Technologies”, as part of the curriculum.
Students discussing the MEP aspect of their studio project with Mehdi Jalayerian, Senior Managing Director, ESD, at the ESD Chicago office, as part of the Tall Building Technologies class in the MTBVU program.
The external experts involved in the class included William Baker, Consulting Partner, SOM; Mark Chiu, Associate, Thornton Tomasetti; Theresa Christy, Consultant, Lerch Bates; Don Davies, President, Magnusson Klemencic Associates (as of Fall 2022); Rachel Deradoorian, Sustainability Engineer, Buro Happold; Jeff Harper, Vice President, Jensen Hughes; Mehdi Jalayerian, Senior Managing Director, ESD; and Kris Lucius, Principal, SmithGroup.
As part of the studio, an extraordinary opportunity was provided to the students with generous sponsorship by Ramboll. Led by Dr. Antony Wood, the students traveled to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur in February 2023, for an extensive two-week fieldtrip, consisting of building visits, urban tours, cultural experiences, etc. During the trip, the students explored real-world examples of the city, which they had designed. More details on the fieldtrip can be found here.
Students describing the inspiration for their design schemes of the future timber city, showing photos of redwood forests and different iterations of physical models.
After a brief presentation by Dr. Antony Wood, on the background of the studio, each group of 2-3 students opened their presentation with a fly-through video of the city consisting of tall buildings (i.e., 600 meters in maximum height), skybridges, and canopies. Following up on the fly-through video, each group presented not only their research project and design scheme in detail, but also the specific technical aspects of their studio projects, along with the large range of materials produced throughout the 2022-23 academic year. These included presentation boards highlighting selected diagrams, drawings, and renderings, as well as sketch and final models.
The reviewers were impressed by the evolution of all the projects that students had progressed since the beginning of Fall 2022, despite the futuristic nature of the project, and provided great feedback on the projects for further development, from various perspectives based on their field of expertise. In addition to the studio final reviews, all MTBVU student work was displayed together with this academic year’s collection of IIT College of Architecture student work at the 2023 Open House “Context”, which began at 5pm on Friday 5 May 2023 in Crown Hall, IIT. The digital 2023 Open House was also launched on Friday 12 May.
Visitors looking at the MTBVU student work in the designated area for the MTBVU program in the Crown Hall Center Core.