SOM Studio Yields Exceptional Student Work, Part of Masters of Tall Buildings and Vertical Urbanism Program
In its second successful year, the Masters of Tall Buildings and Vertical Urbanism (M.TBVU), a collaboration between the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), had an enrollment of 13 students in the Fall 2023 semester design studio, as well as 28, and 35 students in the elective courses of Talking Tall I, and Tall Building Technologies I, respectively.
Students from the Fall 2023 M.TBVU design studio with the program's instructors and invited critics at the final review held on the upper floor of Crown Hall at IIT. Image: Dave Burk © SOM
The M.TBVU Fall 2023 design studio program was under the instruction of three senior colleagues at SOM: Scott Duncan, Design Partner; Jorge Rovira, Associate Principal & Studio Head; and Jason Fisher, Associate Principal & Studio Head, and was themed "Nova Pro Forma." The goal for the students was to reimagine the tall building as the embodiment of emerging and entirely new uses that speak to new modes of working and the ecological imperatives we are experiencing today. Students chose from among the six “alternative” uses in the following considerations for tall structures and developed both an architecture and a nova pro forma, and the business case to support this new use in:
An amalgam of all the six cases to support multifamily housing.
Students in the studio embarked on a journey of research and thoughtfulness in their process to select one of the uses and develop the business case to support it. During the semester, they visited the offices of SOM in downtown Chicago to get a unique perspective and experience behind designing tall buildings and developing the criteria behind the cases. This unique and engaging approach gave the students a deeper look at the considerations of further study in creative approaches to successfully design a tall building. A mid-term review aimed at the plan and section development, gave the direction to each participant to fully flush out the design for the final review.
At the SOM office in downtown Chicago, students in the M.TBVU studio learned from Scott Duncan, Partner, SOM on the various important aspects to consider in
designing and making a business case for tall building innovation. Image: Dave Burk © SOM
On Thursday, 30 November 2023, in Crown Hall at IIT, the final presentations for the design studio occurred with the instructors from SOM and Dr. Antony Wood, CTBUH President and Professor in Practice / Director of the MTBVU program at IIT, along with invited guest reviewers, Anijo Matthew, Dean, Institute of Design, IIT; Clare Lyster, Associate Professor at University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC) / Founder & Principal at ClUAA; Matthew Clark, Principal, Rivian; and Adam Semel, Managing Partner, SOM; and Reed Kroloff, Dean, College of Architecture, IIT. Those invited were enthused to see the rigor that each of the students put into their designs and the thinking behind the business case to support the new use(s) selected for each tall building.
Throughout the semester, students in the M.TBVU program also took two lecture courses that complemented the studio. The "Talking Tall I" lecture series looked at the various aspects of the physical, environmental and social sustainability elements of urban density and tall buildings, and was led by Dr. Antony Wood, CTBUH President and Director of the MTBVU program at IIT and Dr. Yohan Kim, CTBUH Academic Coordinator and Assistant Director of the MTBVU program at IIT. A greater emphasis on the technical aspects of tall buildings was given in the course entitled "Tall Building Technologies I" which served to additionally guide students in their study work, and was taught by external experts from CTBUH member companies, including Ed Curley & Greg Osborne, Directors, Epstein; Jeff Harper, Vice President, Jensen Hughes; Michael Palmer, Principal, Perkins & Will; and David Farnsworth, Principal, Arup, among others.
The students with each of the final project models for the M.TBVU Fall 2023 Program
The M.TBVU program is the world’s first multidisciplinary advanced degree focused specifically on the high-rise, and the role of urban density in future cities. In an age of rapid urbanization, the tall building – more so than any other building type - holds the key to sustainable existence for humanity on this planet. This new design- and research-based program brings together students and professionals from architecture, real estate, engineering, urban design, construction management, business, finance, and other backgrounds, in a unique learning environment built to foster interdisciplinary research and experience. The M.TBVU program is led by Dr. Antony Wood, CTBUH President and Director of the MTBVU program at IIT and Dr. Yohan Kim, CTBUH Academic Coordinator and Assistant Director of the MTBVU program at IIT.