School of Architecture College of Design

Spring Module: Steel and Glass by Sara Marquardt


Spring Module: Steel and Glass

By Sara Marquardt


As an MArch student, spring semester is a time that I really look forward to. In the grad program, the curriculum is set up to allow for greater experimentation through seven week studio modules. Shifting to this faster pace is always invigorating and engaging for me.


Currently I am in a module that is focused on investigating steel and glass, looking at how to maximize the beauty of these materials while also minimizing the environmental cost. The studio is uniquely structured with projects being competition based.


The first project was a three week exercise in perception through light, structure, and form. The famous Gerrit Rietveld chair was exploded into a rigid steel box. Notably within this project, I learned to weld. (Shout-out to the fabulous Workshop staff—especially Kevin and Alex—who patiently trained me!) Being able to work with steel and learn through making was a highlight of the project as a whole.

Instead of a final presentation, the project culminated in a competition. All the work was numbered and set within a room where faculty jurors reviewed and ranked the anonymous work. It was a fascinating exercise in recognizing what qualities in the work will stand out to a juror when only the final piece is presented. Being visually dynamic, conceptually engaging, and having excellent craft were major components that the jurors commented on. Visit our class blog to view this project and more: 


Next up, we are doing national competitions! My classmates and I are working on proposals for two competition groups: a Kiosk on the Chicago Lakefront and the ACSA.


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