MOMA   House

Marina   City

Sheldon   Museum


Mass  Timber

Black  River  ATLAS


Taubman   Bridge

From advanced site analyses to construction practices to case studies to model-making, architectural research encompasses many fields of design with the help of meaningful inquiries and bold representation techniques.


Mass  Timber


Contributors: Peter Arton, Andres Carmona, Kayla Lewis, Nicholas Peruski, Jacob Smith

Lawrence Technological University

Integrated Design 5

Faculty: Rachel Kowalczyk, Scott Shall


Timber is one of the earliest building materials next to stone and mud and has since transformed into a considerably innovative and newly expressive material. To discover the future of mass timber, we can look to the past as to how it has been configured and joined with other wood and non-wood members. From simple beams and columns to elastic grid shells, modern engineered timber allows for grand or subtle gestures of the beauty of the material itself. After all, it is the world’s only naturally renewable building material.

Since the 1920s, logging from forests has occurred at a stable rate to where architects can fully be conscious of the renewable resource’s life cycle. For building applications, this includes timber turning into both untreated products and treated products. The treated products for building structures is called engineered lumber which is mostly made from softwood trees. Transforming from the expression of a tree into engineered lumber, however, has the consequence of recyclability downfalls. Part of being engineered means that the adhesive chemicals (or glues) that bond layers of oriented, fibrous or particle wood causes an environmental issue. Although very good for standardized strength properties, these engineered products require specific reclamation and reusing processes to become other wood products.

Common forms of mass timber include glue-laminated timber (glulam), cross-laminated timber (CLT) and parallel-stranded lumber (PSL) among many others. Timber that is oriented where the strands run parallel to each other can create regular or curved members along an axis. Cross-laminated timber is good for structural members such as timber walls and floors that can withstand loads in a load-bearing wall manner or normal to a larger surface area respectively. As an architect or contractor, you may want to be mindful of the sizing and transporting options for timber members to be assembled on- or off-site (prefabrication).

These pages serve as a guide to the many grain and formal expressions possible with mass timber. To achieve these, timber most often has to be designed in concert with steel, concrete or other morphologies in order to perform amazing architectural and special feats. Wood as a material can undergo any design methodologies from fastener-free joinery to steel connection nodes to elastic grid shells to structural insulated panels (SIP) and virtually any shape and architectural performance you can imagine.




Contributors: Anirban Adhya (Faculty Research Leader)

Nicholas Peruski (Graduate Research Assistant)

2020 Seed OUT Faculty Grant Program 2020-2021

Lawrence Technological University / College of Architecture and Design

Project Partners

City of Croswell

Huron County Economic Development Corporation

Sanilac Regional Economic Consortium



The methodology is framed around environmental studies of several areas adjacent to the Black River located in Croswell, Michigan. Primary tool for the environmental study is conducted through environmental mapping using unmanned aerial systems (UAS).


Three inspection areas are designated along the territory or the Black River at critical intersections of the river with the city, where the river has interaction with human occupation and density (central business district), activities (landuse and events), natural topography (natural slopes, flood plain), and movement infrastructure (roads).


Black River x Downtown Croswell (river / human density / topography)

Black River x Harrington Rd bridge (river / movement infrastructure)

Black River x Sanborn Ave bridge (river / movement infrastructure / 


The UAS is used for detailed inspection as well as photogrammetry to assess the condition of the project.


The photogrammetry data of each area area is used to create a digital three dimensional (3D) model for each area.


Photographs are used for a digital 3D reconstruction of the topography and structures. Different data types including a point cloud, photo mesh, and contour files compatible with Autodesk products are used for developing 2d and 3d models for urban analysis.


Using photogrammetry data collection, different data layers of open spaces, topography, surface condition, and green and blue infrastructure are mapped and then integrated into a three-dimensional model.


Croswell City Council (2017). City of Croswell Comprehensive Plan. Croswell, Michigan.

Haas, R.C. (2009). Black River Assessment. Lansing, MI: Fisheries Division, State of Michigan Department of Natural Resources.



The Black River Atlas is a digital cartography project involving mapping of three specific issues in the City of Croswell, interconnected through the ecology of the Black River, a long-ignored natural element in the community: green infrastructure, public space, and environmental resilience. The atlas is a reference map for sparking conversation and framing aspirations. The City of Croswell and the Sanilac and Huron County Economic Development Council is our partner.


The City of Croswell is a small city in a rural setting in East Michigan. Croswell is situated four miles east of Lake Huron, along the Black River in southeastern Sanilac County, in Michigan’s “Thumb” region. In the face of increasing competition for economic development, environmental crisis, and political attention small towns like Croswell need attention. Croswell is a recognized yet untold American story of declining housing and infrastructure, new rural demographics, labor-market restructuring, and climate change. We want to highlight the following narratives in Croswell.


Unmanned Aerial System (UAS)

double grid flight path / photo locations


3D photogammetry / point cloud orthomosaic





Over the last seven years, the city has implemented near 20 million dollars of infrastructure improvements. Careful topo-mapping is needed for a comprehensive plan to address stormwater and wastewater using green infrastructure. The Black River meanders through the city with occasional cut and widening. Where the river widens, there are large low areas. With high rainwater events and, we conducted aerial survey and drone-mapping to study open space and how water flows through the community.



Croswell needs new public spaces for people’s experience and to attract new demographics. The Black River, historically hidden in the back of the commercial street, provides an opportunity to become a new front porch. The community needs good quality community access to the river. Martin Rheaume represents new demographics in Croswell and their call for wellbeing and access to nature. Working with Martin, we intend to address public space through mapping ownership and accessibility of riverfront properties in Croswell. This is critical to develop an open  space oriented recreation framework for the community as well as address resilience in response to possible increase in extreme rain events on riverfront communities and shoreline settlements.



Stormwater and green infrastructure is not just an environmental issue, but a social issue (public space) and an economic development issue (amenities to attract and retain new population). With climate change, large rainfall is an issue, but addressing the environmental needs could also help provide public access to waterways.


City of Croswell Comprehensive Plan

Green Infrastructure Linking Landscapes and Communities

Urban Sustainability and River Restoration - Green and Blue Infrastructure


Natural wooded areas acting as threshold between residential areas and riparian ecology - potential for recreation trails for walking/running.

N Howard Ave, the main drag for occupation and movement in Croswell.

Park constructed as green infrastructure for flood mitigation - water holding buffer zone during high stormwater events.

The waterway historically seen as a "drain" for adjacent settlements and "irrigation channel" for rural agricultural production.

Riverbank with steep slope - potential public space between the downtown and the river.

Central Business District: parking lots and paved areas - concern for fast water runoffs, waste water pipes from adjacent retail - concern for water pollution.

[This area is intentionally left blank.]


MOMA   House

Contributors: Luke Blair, Nicholas Peruski 


Lawrence Technological University

Visual Communication 4

Faculty: Kristen Smith, Aaron Jones

Just like a Mondrian painting or a Miesian plan, this mid-century home organizes indoor and outdoor spaces with outstretched, orthogonal lines. In plan, cells are related by surface condition or program and are defined with louvered walls and stone barriers on the building site and partitions on the interior.

In this interpretation, the red space is the definition of a stone floor sweeping from outdoor to indoor to outdoor; yellow as a notable passage; blue as play spaces with significant two-way views.


The New York Times

House in the Museum Garden

The Museum of Modern Art

11 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019

Architect: Marcel Breuer

Exhibition: Apr 12 - Oct 30, 1949

As an exhibition for the Museum of Modern Art in New York City from April 12-October 30, 1949, the butterfly-roofed, timber-sided home presented a new vernacular to city dwellers. Now restored and located in Potanico Hills, New York, the home's soft blue interior walls, wood siding and stone floors are familiar surfaces and tones of its permanent surroundings.


The following drawings explore simple relationships and organizations of surfaces through digital drawing and physical modeling.


These drawings and models explore floor surfaces and partitions relative to the organization of the single family home.








Find original drawings and all things Marcel Breuer at the

Marcel Breuer Digital Archive.


Download a poster of this project's drawings here. (.pdf)






Check out photos of the restoration and a Dwell article about the home.


Marina   City


Contributors: Brittney Meyer, Nathan Kurek, Nicholas Peruski, Maxwell Blatt,

Lewis Parenti, Nathan LeBlanc, Allexus Barnes, Jessica Brethour

Lawrence Technological University

Visual Communication 3

Faculty: Kristen Smith

This rediscovery explores the how formal elements of the Marina City towers reflect a new concept of urban life as envisioned by Bertrand Goldberg in the 1950s.

Marina City is five structures—two residential towers, a theater (House of Blues), an office building (now a hotel), and a marina. Although famously nicknamed the “corn cobs,” we found ourselves referring to the towers’ plans and divisions as “flowers, petals and the Slinky”—the residential floor plans resembling a flower with units of varying petal sizes and a Slinky-like parking ramp.


In plan, section and through makeshift virtual reality, we analyzed how the landmark’s non-rectilinear, concrete forms express a monumentality and significance of the common idea of “a city within a city.” These ideas thus call for continued research and another look at the project through the lens of social and historical significance. Check out the landmark designation.


The following traces the process of visually communicating critical habitable and circulatory areas of the towers through visual cues and a unique presentation installation.

Chicago Architecture Center


Marina City Goldberg

300-340 N. State St.;301-351 N. Dearborn St.

Chicago, Illinois

Architect: Bertrand Goldberg

Completed: 1964

The strategy for choosing any high-rise or skyscraper built in the US for an 8-student team of architecture students to study was not without great debate. We valued the revolutionary plaza of the Seagram Building, the bundled tube organization of the Willis Tower, the formal expression of Lake Point Tower and the significance of others.


We were excited for the challenges of studying the iconic parking ramp and radial floor plans, expressive balconies, its river's edge site and the opportunity to express at least two scopes of information through its two towers in a physical model.

Plus, who doesn't love a good stunt of a car driving off its parking ramp?


Team diagramming


An over-dramatized poster of what we discovered about Marina City's floor plans.


The Chicago Tribune

A stunt car drives off the parking garage at Marina City Towers during the filming of "Hunter," starring Steve McQueen on Sept. 21, 1979, in Chicago. The car crashed into the Chicago River below. 


A fun-filled moment of studio-mates and professors viewing the "ViewMaster" model during final critique. (Photo: Erik Knauss)


Paper... Oops.

Chipboard... Yes!


Outlines for laser cut chipboard rings with inserts for dowel sticks and an acrylic tube.


An LED strip through an acrylic light strip makes the model express colors from balconies and marina shops that dance on the Chicago River during nighttime. 

Through a string installation and interactive buttons that illuminate the model, the viewer has a sense of site scale to Lake Michigan and can interact with an unconventional annotative strategy. No more section cut line in plan—press a button, and make the section glow! (Correction: The central lift is for valet workers; not vehicles.)

Man lift for valet parking workers

Observation hub (Part 1)

Observation hub (Part 2)


Contributors (L to R) Brittney Meyer, Nathan Kurek, Nicholas Peruski,

Maxwell Blatt, Lewis Parenti, Nathan LeBlanc, Allexus Barnes, Jessica Brethour

Pin-up with string installation, relating the glowing sections to their plans.


19-20 balcony.jpg

 Read more from ArchDaily Here.


Sheldon   Museum

Contributors: Luke Blair, Nicholas Peruski

Lawrence Technological University

Visual Communication 4

Faculty: Kristen Smith, Aaron Jones

Echoing early nineteenth century museums, Philip Johnson drew from Byzantine forms of freehand arches and curves and gold leaf of the Rococo style. The Sheldon Museum of Art's Sculpture Hall is a space where the entasis of a column and the pendentives that surround elliptical ceiling panels create a visually sculptural and sweeping environment. Built from travertine and topped with a luxurious gold, the museum stands as a monument to both the art it homes and the architecture of yesterday that inspired it.

This study focuses on how the museum's seemingly simple yet complex geometry is revealed to the viewer. It traces operations of achieving a digitally fabricated representation of the museum's forms through 3D printing and an understanding of its integrated construction systems.

Sheldon Museum of Art

12th and R streets on the campus of the

University of Lincoln, NE 68508

View in Maps

Architect Philip Johnson

Completed: 1963


A worm's eye view is a drawing projection that is advantageous for understanding and expressing interesting ceiling and elevated interior conditions which otherwise would be hidden in an aerial or plan view.

This drawing is cut at the first floor and explodes elements along the Sculpture Hall to reveal the array of gold buttons.





a slight convex curve in the shaft of a column, introduced to correct the visual illusion of concavity produced by a straight shaft.


non-lossy process of 3D modeling in Rhino 6 software: This method involved duplicating an entire ceiling segment, for example, while adding sequential modeling commands to prevent loss of steps during trial-and-error.

With the goal to 3D print the elements, complex geometries can often "fail" if modeled incorrectly. In terms of additive manufacturing, it should be "water tight" so the 3D printing dialogue can recognize the geometry correctly. This theme park of many digital models in the Rhino modeling space is the result of getting it right!