5icch planning

…and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that we had our first real meeting on Sunday night as a local organizing committee for the 2015 Construction History Congress.  I think we’re off to a flying start, with some initial decisions made and volunteer groups set up for everything ranging from facilities and tours to social events and fundraising.  There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer left, though.  We’re targeting a late May, 2015 date.  Thanks to the group of eleven hearty souls who showed up and (admittedly after a glass or two of wine), volunteered their time and expertise.  Watch this space, and note the hashtag #5icch, which we’ll use to put news about planning out there…

chicago field trip


Just back from Chicago for a long weekend with sixteen design students in tow.  It was cold, as my field trips seem to always be, but we got in a good couple of days of firm and site visits.  The site itself is a tricky one–a long, skinny block between Wacker and the Chicago River, and students were productively baffled by how it works in the flow of the west Loop.  Because of the weather we spent a fair amount of time walking the concourse of the Metra station to the west, and I suspect there will be a fair amount of internal circulation showing up after we froze ourselves walking around.  (Just like all the outdoor fountains that cropped up in our Montreal project after early September field trips there…)

The highlight for me, though, was meeting alums and former colleagues for our firm visits.  We had tours of SOM, IA, and Studio Gang, all of which were interesting, and all of which complemented one another really well.  IA organized reps from Knoll and from the John Buck Company, and we got a couple hours of their time to talk about high rise design and economics, which was absolutely priceless–many, many thanks to those folks for taking their long Friday lunch hour to talk with us, and for buying us pizza.

Curious to see how all this inflects the designs.  We heard very clearly that we’d over-provided for elevators (apparently we specified much speedier elevator service at my old firm than strictly necessary?) and that we’d maybe been under-ambitious in thinking of a million square feet as an appropriate scale for this site.  So, discussions to be had.  Mid-review in 2-1/2 weeks…