ARCH 602 Final Project

ARCH 602 centers on the development and completion of a student initiated and defined architectural design project. Working independently with major + minor advisors, students develop a final project based on the framework produced in ARCH 603 (Final Project prep). The projects below represent a range of topics from recent years.

Matt Jennings

Advisors: Josh Coggeshall, George Elvin
Year: 2016

Bryan Beerman

Advisors: Harry Eggink, Lohren Deeg, Michel Mounayar, Simon Bussiere
Year: 2015

Carissa Clohessy

Advisors: Karen Keddy, Tony Costello
Year: 2015

While gender non-conformity has become more visible, architecture and the gender-binary male-female social organization of space have been slow to evolve to match the new spectrum-based thinking about gender. Anatomical sex, self-identified gender, gender expression, and gender attraction all exist on a spectrum yielding unlimited combinations that cannot be accurately defined by the binary model of gender. Architectural elements are used to separate people, often with unnecessary levels of separation based on a socially-constructed idea of the need for privacy and gender segregation. The gender-binary model defines gender as a person’s assigned gender (a person’s declared sex at birth). The gender nonconforming population challenges this idea, separating expressed gender from anatomy, arguing that gender as a fluid, spectrum-based trait. Historically, architecture has reinforced binary gender definitions by separating people into male and female spaces for different activities, the most common spaces which include restrooms and dressing area. This model has been challenged by the gender non-conforming community and the typical architectural response has been to add a third, gender-neutral or “other” option. However, does this provide a solution to the privacy issues that arise when the gender-binary social model is challenged, or does the separation become segregation? How does the built environment reinforce discrimination against the LGBT and gender non-conforming populations, and how can design change to be inclusive of all genders and gender expressions? Looking at design from a different vantage point, how to do architectural elements of schools provide greater opportunity for bullying and how can architecture be used to minimize opportunities for bullying? Discrimination breeds bullying. Bullying, rooted in ideas of discrimination, occurs when the opportunity to bully without consequence is present. Architectural elements can create spaces for bullying to be easily hidden from view. Schools are a place where young people are exposed to diversity as they grow and find their identity and place in the world, so this building typology will be used to explore ideas of privacy, separation, and inclusion. Middle school (grades 6-8) is the time when students experience the most severe bullying and are struggling to find their identities, and this approach to school design is most needed.

Jesse McClain

Advisors: Wes Janz, Karen Keddy
Year: 2014

To be outside has many meanings. It can suggest an environment exposed to the elements or a rebellion to the status quo. Being outside indicates a removal from shelter and protection. Scales in size and power create insides and outsides. Operating outside of traditional power structures can create both vulnerability and liberation. This project has focused on developing a greater understanding of the inside and outside forces in the architectural profession. It has sought to examine how architecture is serving society and how it is truly protecting the public’s “health, safety, and welfare.” It is a critique of the ever expanding growth system in which the profession operates and the human and environmental costs associated with such a structure. Geographical regions of vitality, destruction, and resources have been studied as catalysts for an active response. Sites of field research included Welch, West Virginia and Williston, North Dakota. The strip-mined coal fields of southern West Virginia are creating a barren landscape and toxic environment as we continue to pummel the earth with our insatiable appetite for more wealth and energy. Hours were spent driving through the Appalachian Mountains with longtime Welch resident, Hilda Mitros. She detailed numerous accounts of both personal and environmental violence experienced under the influence of the mining industry. Williston, North Dakota is at the heart of the nation’s oil fracking boom. This modern day gold-rush is creating numerous jobs, stimulating architectural development, and also acting as an incubator for transient violence, toxic fracking fluid dumping, and the destruction of sand dunes in supply states such as Wisconsin. Our obsession with immediate energy addresses our consumptive urges but does not offer a longterm plan to live and work in ways truly in the public’s best interests. Through this research process, the power of the individual has emerged as a force of great strength. The destructive nature of unlimited efficiency and large scale has necessitated an opposing response. Such an endeavor both embraces elements of human inefficiency and encourages a smallness of building. This project is an action of engagement that promotes the wellbeing of the public and does so without asking permission of the powers that be.

Matthew C. Nichols

Advisors: Josh Coggeshall, George Elvin
Year: 2014

Are there universal truths that resound with ananswer to sacredness? What makes a place contemplative, introspective, transcendent,or pointed toward a manifestation of thespiritual? People, location, materials, the immaterial, all symphonize to compose the sacred. Perhaps the complex harmonies of personal history, perceived discords of the physical world, wondrous melodies of manifested natural beauty, or the heavy silence of light speak to a greater universal connectivity. Regardless, there is no question that some places are viewed as ordinary while others are set apart as sacred. This journey seeks not to answer completely the questions of the sacred, but rather to raise my and others awareness through a curious and humble exploration. I began this process by examining not only religious precedents, but monuments, memorials, cemeteries, and venerable ruins. The transcendent nature of each place seems to bear witness to interconnected themes. Age, light, materials, and symbolism are the sharper notes amongst many.
This project strives to test these assumptions through the narrative story of Mikael, a member of a displaced and sojourning group of Europeans, as he encounters the sacred through the regenerated bones of a long forgotten home in Muncie. The building is designed to address the specific needs and ideas of this group of sojourners, to better reveal to them place, self, and a higher power.

 Tianxiao Peng

Advisor: Janice Shimizu
Year: 2013

“The taste of the apple...lies in the contact of the fruit with the palate, not in the fruit itself; in a similar way...poetry lies in the meeting of the poem and reader, not in the lines of symbols printed on the pages of a book. What is essential is the aesthetic act, the thrill, the almost physical emotion that comes with each reading.” -Jorge Luis Borges, Forward to Obra Poetica
In the twentieth Century, the world experienced an enormous change, including information explosion brought by the technological development, confusion of impermanence caused by economic fluctuation, etc., which brought about the separation from human being to natural phenomena. Architecture was inevitably influenced by this wave of rapid development. “Under the appearance of an unprecedented prosperity of pluralistic genres and styles, this colorful and dazzling architectural world is full of specious and contradictory argument about the essence of architecture.” Within this background, the essence of architecture became more elusive. In order to unveil “the existence and meaning”, phenomenology emerged at the beginning of the last century. Its guiding principle is to eliminate bias, prejudice, hypothesis, and to seek a new insight into (experiential) phenomenon without any distortion, and to represent the true essence of nature. Phenomenology has deeply influenced the work of architects such as Steven Holl, who have translated these ideas into an architectural investigation. In this thesis, I am trying to take these ideas as the theoretical basis, and focus on the research of phenomenon of light. By using parametric design tools, quantitive analysis of the different effects on the surface and its responses to sunlight for all times of day and year can be studied quickly and accurately. This is balanced with a qualitative or perceptural evaluation of phenomena. The thesis looks for a connection between the architectural phenomena of light and its essence by organizing these surfaces in dialogue with light, the functions of spaces, and the users’ movement. Here the thesis looks for the opportunities of these strategies for the design process.

Rebecca A. Staley

Advisors: Wes Janz, Ana de Brea
Year: 2011

In focusing on a single element, water, the Water Stop is highly specific but able to serve a broad range of people. By providing resources needed by everyone, it becomes flexible to a neighborhood’s needs. Its aim is not to solve an entire city’s problems but to demonstrate that one resource, well-thought out and highly detailed, can fit into its context and reinforce the other existing resources. The resource is layered to address varied issues surrounding water. At the site level, rain water is harvested to help supply the fixtures without overburdening local infrastructure. Plantings absorb toxins from industrially-polluted ground water and soil. After bio-remediation and renewed soil, the landscape will provide space for community members to maintain small garden patches. People who use the Water Stop can benefit from a clean water source for drinking, bathing, cleaning clothing or other possessions, reducing health and infection risks, and feeling dignified in the process. As a water destination, the wide range of people using the site would bring traffic to the adjacent farmers’ market. It could encourage interaction among various factions of the neighborhood that usually remain separate, strengthening the community dialogue. Most importantly, the Water Stop demonstrates that EVERYONE deserves dignified access to clean water.

Nicholas R. Respecki

Advisors: Andrea Swartz, George Elvin
Year: 2011

The human body is designed to engage in physical activity, yet more than 50 percent of the American population does not meet the established recommendations as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sedentarylifestyles have been associated with an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, colon cancer, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Personal and environmental barriers such as lack of knowledge, time, childcare, safety, and facilities prevent Americans from being physically active. Lifestyle physical activity offers individuals an opportunity to meet the established recommendations through common daily tasks such as walking, biking, and stair climbing. Design research is beginning to focus on the relationship between this type of physical activity and the built environment. At an urban scale, mixed-land use, green space, neighborhood connectivity, public safety, and pedestrian-friendly design have each been associated with increased levels of physical activity. At the building scale, the design of stair systems, skip-stop elevators, roof gardens, spatial organization, and the building program have been equally associated with providing building occupants increased levels of daily physical activity. This creative project proposes an enhanced model for the design of buildings that places physical activity integration at the forefront of the design process. This building is programmed as an office work environment within the West Loop neighborhood of Chicago and offers a precedent on how to successfully integrate lifestyle and organized physical activity into contemporary architecture.


Advisors: Joshua Coggeshall
Year: 2010

There is a failure in modern theory and practice to address the increasing availability of digital tools. The current theory of digital fabrication is focused predominantly on the new tools of making, CNC machines, rapid prototyping technology and BIM and parametric modeling software. We believe that these tools allow for a shift in the methods of an informed practice but do not and cannot exist without a tangible relation to the human aspect of design and making, what we call the analog. Secondly there is a growing recognition by schools and theorists that interactive architecture is inevitable and though slow to adapt, architecture will need to address the proliferation of augmented reality and reactive systems. These have become accepted across our society and the expectation is clear that our buildings must respond to environmental (background/ambient) and human (foreground/direct) stimuli. Many projects highlighted in periodicals and in academic journals are based on intangible software tools rather than the tangible constraints of making. It has been argued that CNC equipment has allowed for the development of unique components such as contoured blobs and therefore these projects do consider the realities of fabrication. We feel that such an approach is limited and forces the irrelevant digital form into a wasteful object, and is ignorant to the details which are essential to architecture’s success.

Nick Alexander

Advisors: Josh Coggeshall, Harry Eggink
Year: 2010

This work has been an exploration of how an urban community might be more holistically designed in response to the massive shift of populations towards cities and the signifi cant disconnect between people and their basic needs. Taking principles from ecovillage design and translating them into an urban setting, the design solutions mean to integrate food growth, water management and purification, energy generation, and other infrastructural processes within the communities where people live, work, and play. This final product is in no way meant to be a final solution, only a significant step towards rethinking community design as a more holistic endeavor. To truly address our futures in regard to sustainability, many of these topics must be at the forefront of conversation. As these topics continue to be studied, many new questions will arise, both architectural and non-architectural. Where does such a community begin? How does it evolve into the utopia that is illustrated in the presentation? Who is participating and to what magnitude? How does this study translate to other cities across the world? How does such a community affect its existing context?