Monday, April 30, 2012

Chairs for our Classroom

The Friends of the Forest Preserve (FOTFP) just relocated to a new office and had some extra chairs they didn't need anymore. We met up with Benjamin Cox of the FOTFP this morning to help him move a few things to the new office and he drove the extra chairs down to IIT for us.

We got 35 good-looking chairs, now all we need is a classroom to put them in!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Earth Day at Eden Place

Tomorrow is Earth Day and Eden Place is holding an event in the morning and afternoon. Some of us will be there throughout the day grilling and raising awareness of our project.

Also, it's no longer winter so we decided to swing by Eden Place and see how the flora and fauna were doing. The chickens are huge! Check out this free ranger. She was a chick just a few weeks ago.

The prairie is already starting to fill in and the cottonwoods (the predominate tree on the site) are full of small leaves.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Hand Drafted Full Scale Drawing

Three of our group members had to complete a full scale hand drafted wall section for the final project of a materials and construction class (taught by Prof. Eva Kultermann). The section goes from foundation to top of roof. Depicted is a sort of "dream" section. As in, if we have the money to do triple glazing, etc.

The total drawing is 16' long and 4' wide. The  entire drawing took about 85 man hours to complete.

We used the M&M Building to take photographs. 16' is hard to photograph on the ground.

Raft foundation detail. Instead of going down the regular 42" we're doing a FPSF (frost protected shallow foundation).

Raico mullion and triple glazing detail.

33 call outs...

And our scale figure - Prof. Flury (in typical Bavarian garb).

Friday, April 13, 2012

Passive House Institute US at U of I

Last week a few of us went to Urbana, IL to visit the Passive House Institute (PHIUS). One of their members, Ryan Abendroth (who's helped out the likes of Studio 804 and the U of I Solar Decathlon Team) showed us the Dublin House.

It's a very small, roughly 1,000 SF, project built as affordable housing. It has roughly 15-1/2" of insulation in the walls and 10" of rigid foam beneath the floor slab.

Here you can see the thickness of the walls.

It was an unseasonably warm day, but even with the solar gains the house wasn't that warm (the AC was turned off). This is the ERV (energy recovery ventilator) closet. That box on the top left exchanges energy from the geo-exchange loop before entering the ERV. In the summer it cools air and in the winter it warms it. The pump is "intelligent" and learns how to run more efficiently as it gets used to the buildings needs.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Model Complete

Joe has been preparing a 1/2" = 1' scale final model which was finished yesterday. The model is made out of mahogany, basswood, aluminum, polystyrene, acrylic, and chipboard; the whole model measures 30" x 18". Today we took some photos of the model which came out really nice (nothing too surprising there). Here's some pictures

The model can also split, revealing the construction details in the walls, roof, and foundation

New Renderings

You may find yourself wondering, what does Nature Studio look like?
And you may ask yourself,
Well... How did we get here?

We'll be uploading all the drawings and images of models we made while designing Nature Studio soon, but in the meantime here are some shiny new renderings!

Interior & Exterior renderings compliments of Max

Ibrahim made sketches of the East and South elevations

And Sonya made a drawing of the plan.

Our First Fundraiser Event

Michelle Uting of the Cook County Forest Preserve graciously offered to host a fundraiser event for us last Saturday. Michelle invited lots of professionals within her network who were interested in our project. After a warm introduction from Mr. Howard, Kelly presented our work.

It was a great night full of friends, family, food, and drinks. Thanks again Michelle!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Bake Sale

We had a bake/coffee sale in Crown Hall for about 3 hours today and made over $300 for our project! I don't think any of us expected that kind of response. Our client, Michael Howard also stopped by to check it out.

There's a pretty good chance we'll be trying to repeat this next Friday -- if you're around IIT swing by.

Model Update

What's this you ask? Why, it's a charcoal starter, but Flury is notoriously cheap and more importantly German; he likes his sausages. Being in the wood shop there's a lot of scrap wood to be had that would otherwise be landfill, so Flury salvages poplar, oak, and basswood and uses it to cook his daily sausages (which he sometimes even shares with us). Lots of people talk about being "green", but this is a fairly direct way of actually doing something.

Notice the "custom" 2x4 platter and unmarked bread packaging.

The model breaks apart to show a section of the built construction. We've tried to model all the actual materials as they'll be built.

Then Joe built the walls as they would actually be built -- modeling every 2x4... The black is the vapor barrier and the underground stuff is our concrete foundation and insulation.

This is the cedar (modeled with mahogany) rain screen. It's not attached yet, but you can also see the gravel perimeter and posts for the columns that support our overhang.

Ready for Permit

Our permit drawings are completed, stamped, and ready to submit to the city. Now we just have to:

  1. Obtain a housing number from CDOT (Chicago Department of Transportation)
  2. Zoning Review
  3. Permit Intake
  4. Receive building permit
  5. Start building!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Model In the Making

We've started building a model of our final design. It's scale is 1/2" = 1', so instead of being roughly 40'x20' it'll be 20"x10".

And yes, that's leftover mahogany that Joe is using. How did he get it so small? With a table saw and a lot of patience.

This is the M&M (Materials and Metals Building, 1939) on IIT's campus. It was the first building that Mies van der Rohe built in America. It was used to train navel architects during WWII. Now we use it as our model/wood shop. There's a whole other side plus some upstairs rooms with laser cutters and other fun oddities in them.

New Video

Our last video was a bit unclear, so for the past few weeks we've been slowly piecing this one together. Enjoy! And don't forget to share it with your friends and family.

Here's a link to it on our Kickstarter page.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Funding Update

This last week has been busy but exciting. Since launching our Kickstarter we have raised close to half our goal! In the next 19 days we need to raise another $5,700 to reach our goal so help us out and spread the link to anyone and everyone who supports charitable work, sustainable architecture, environmental education, urban green spaces, and Chicago.

We have a Kickstarter goal set at $10,000, which is a mark we believe we can obtain, but there's nothing stopping us from raising more. Below is a breakdown of the estimated costs for Nature Studio, this also shows where we stand right now.

Visit our Become a Sponsor page to see the impact your support has; we will be updating the cost diagram as we continue to gain funding. We will also be recognizing all of our supporters on our website, so look for that to go up shortly. In related news Ozinga, a major concrete manufacturer for the Chicagoland area, has offered their generous support for our project.

Ozinga has a whole division of green technologies and we will be working with them to create a sustainable solution for Nature Studio. They have recommended a concrete mix with 50% recycled aggregate such as ash, slag, porcelain and glass. They have a great green building website which you can check out HERE

Friday, March 16, 2012

Kickstarter Has Launched!

We just launched our kickstarter page! Check it out HERE and pledge to support our project. When you pledge you can show your support with fun Nature Studio gear. First up is the Nature Studio Frisbee

 Now to design our Nature Studio T Shirts!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Charrette at CPS

Today half of our group members went to a public junior high in Chicago called Hendricks. It's located directly across the street from Eden Place.

We broke the kids up into groups and gave each member a different interior 3D drawing of the Nature Studio. We asked them to come up with ideas for what they'd like to see on the inside. Most of the kids have been to Eden Place before and a few have taken their summer education programs so they're familiar with what Eden Place needs. We're sorting through a bunch of their drawings now but once we're done we'll post a few of them up here.

We looked up Hendricks on CPS's website before we visited to get a feel for the place. Almost 99% of the children at Hendricks are low-income. Three and a half miles north of the school is the Loop and the Magnificent Mile. The dichotomy between Fuller Park and just a few miles north is truly astonishing.

Are most Chicagoans even aware of this? The more we learn about Fuller Park and Eden Place the more we realize that if any single neighborhood or group deserves a helping hand in Chicago it's right here.