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.

Quack Quack

A few weeks ago Eden Place received a shipment of baby ducks and chickens.

When we went back yesterday to meet with Michael they had tripled in size! The baby chicks were flying out of their box and running around chasing one another. They're all females too. Michael wanted to add to his flock because so many people want the eggs they sell at their farmers market.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Chicago Tribune Article

This article is from last Spring. I learned a few things about Eden Place Nature Center that I didn't know before:
  • The entire site was covered in 8" of topsoil to remediate the lead contaminated soil
  • 46% of children under 6 years old have elevated levels of lead in their blood
  • Michael Howard had a bomb placed in his mailbox by local gangs
There was also a quote from a twelve year old that really exemplified why Eden Place is so important for the South Side:
You see people recycling, you see people who have plants. You get to see how things should really be. It makes me feel like I was supposed to be here. It makes me want to do more. - Morgan Sanders

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Video For Kickstarter

We're in the process of helping Eden Place launch a Kickstarter campaign so we can attract a larger donor base. Success on Kickstarter is heavily reliant on the video you present, so please leave any suggestions you have in the comments section below.

Update: We've been advised by some of our professors that we more or less have to redo the entire video so hopefully we'll have an entirely new one in about a week.

What We've Been Up To

We're not technically architects yet. Even once we graduate we need to intern almost 6,000 hours before passing seven tests before we can be licensed (yeah, it scares us too). Hence, we had to find an actual architect willing to stamp our  drawings. In our case this is going to be one of our professors, Dirk Denison of Dirk Denison Architects. We met with two of his employees yesterday who helped us find errors in our drawing set before we go to zoning and permitting.

We also met with another of our professors, Sachin Anand, who's a partner/mechanical engineer at dbHMS (design build engineering). They do a lot of high end projects all over the world. They've recently completed both Aqua by Jeanne Gang and The Poetry Center by John Ronan. Now they get to add the Nature Studio at Eden Place to their list. Definitely a big step for them (yes, I'm kidding).

They also threw in a good word for us with a rep from Mitsubishi. They manufacture a heating and cooling system that's rapidly gaining popularity because it doesn't require duct work and does both heating and cooling. The system is a mini-split heat pump called Mr. Slim. They're also more efficient than traditional conditioning systems -- what's not to love?

It's incredibly nice out today so we went outside and staked out the building in front of Galvin Library. Still massaging that floor plan. It's hard to change once you've dug a big hole and filled it with concrete.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Just in Case You Missed It

This is a must-see video about Eden Place from WTTW (Chicago's Public Broadcast Station) that was made last summer:

Watch June 15, 2011 - Eden Place on PBS. See more from Chicago Tonight.

It's Monday Morning...

... and it's shaping up to be an interesting week.

Ibrahim, our talented Fulbright scholar, ran a physics experiment involving himself and a flight of stairs. The experiment was a success, but Ibrahim fractured his left arm in the process.

In other news Matt (Doctor) is going to be gone for a few days as his wife gave birth to their first child, Lila - 6 lbs 11 oz., this morning. Congratulations to them! In his pursuit of architecture, Matt's previous life consisted of very little sleep. We're quite sure that Lila will help contribute to this downward trend in hours slept per night.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


We all got behind a computer and knocked out a revised floor plan as a group. Having that many people and Ibrahim (the world's fastest CAD drafter) led to a very intense design session.

Our site consists of several 25' x 115' lots (typical Chicago lot is 25' x 125"). There was some miscommunication and our survey was done one lot north of the four that what we asked for, so the owner came out and we learned a bit more about how surveys are actually done.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Final Charrette

We had our final charrette (that's architect talk for the iterative process of designing, reviewing, debating, and designing again) today so that we could come together and really start working on a unified design.

Edgar also spoke with us as a group and discussed some refinements of our design.

Board Meeting Presentation

Today we presented our project to the Fuller Park Community Development Board of Directors. This was the first time showing our work to everyone who is working behind the scenes to make Eden Place happen and improve the Fuller Park neighborhood. Our project was very well recieved thanks to the excellent presentation given by Kelly; we also made a few more connections and have more leads for fundraising possibilites.

Here are some of the images we prepared for the presentation

Programing diagram and site context

Hand renderings compliments of Ibrahim

And the most refined plan and section

Thursday, February 2, 2012

DePaul Magazine Highlights Eden Place

DePaul Magazine just published an article about the collaboration between Eden Place Nature Center and DePaul University students. 

Check out pages 14-15 of the PDF version.