After a semester and a half of silence, the Second Year grads (2G) are back on the blogs of FM! My name is Paola Gomez, and I am very excited to be your official FM insider into the lives and labors of our studio. I will be working hard to keep you posted on our sleeping patterns, inner workings and studio reviews, but first here’s a little update about us in case you’ve missed us too much…
Formerly called 2331 in the FM scene, a lot has changed for the 2Gs in the past months. After a wonderful first year together, we began our second year with only nineteen of our original twenty three classmates, but we happily welcomed seven new members into our mix. The newly formed second years were then split into three different studio sections to tackle the (in)famous Urbanism studio lead by Sarah Dunn (studio coordinator), Alexander Eisenschmidt, and Jimenez Lai. We were asked to design a one million square feet art complex featuring museum galleries, dormitories and an art school, right on the edge of the Chicago River… a daunting task! Although we went through 15 tough weeks of not enough sleep and too much work, I think my classmates would agree when I say that retrospectively, it was a really fun semester, filled with fuzzy textures and bright lights from our quarter inch models.
This semester we’ve slowed down our pace a little (finally and thankfully) and we’re halfway through our Housing studio. We were all split again into two different sections, this time lead by Xavier Vendrell (studio coordinator), Lluis Ortega and Lindsay Pepple. The purpose of the studio is to design a housing project on a mystery site in Chicago (we’ll find out where after the midterm, so hold your breath!), with 15 to 25 units of three different sizes. This first half of the semester was divided in three parts, each one focusing on a specific architectural component related to this typology. We began by looking at case studies, analyzing how each project solved one of these components; then we developed a flexible housing prototype not based on site restrictions, but on implementing formal and/or organizational strategies learned from each case study.
The first case studies we looked at focused on part to whole relationships. We diagrammed projects made up of an aggregation of individual units, arranged in a unified system, and accessed from a common circulation system. Then, we moved on to examine programmatic considerations and hydraulics. In these couple of weeks, we were concerned with adding wet walls – that hopefully all stacked together – to our prototypes, and with designing units that offered flexibility of lifestyles – like bedrooms that could turn into home offices during the day. The last group of case studies brought up the question of envelopes: the really fine line between indoor and outdoor spaces. We looked at projects that played with different layers of common spaces, integrated green spaces as program dividers, and incorporated varying degrees of privacy to a unit.
With our midterm approaching, we are a couple of desk crits away from having fully realized prototypes that will feature all of these intricacies and more. As I fill my plans with little chairs and desks, clean up line weights and find the perfect angle for interior perspectives, I hope you enjoyed this peek into our studio, and anxiously await the ones to come.
Tags: 2G, housing, Ortega, second year, Studio, Vendrell