08 March 2013

Looking Back on 2012

Well it has been quite awhile since a post has been made on our blog and for this I am sorry. With the semesters being so busy and with so many of our wonderful students too busy to write pieces of their own, the semesters have seemed to drag on without an entry. So, in the hopes of kicking off the new year with a renewed vigor, I would like to spend an entry recapping some of the highlights of this past year of 2012.

AE Students hanging with Blue

WJR Interview

Architectural Engineering Institute (AEI):

This past year has been a busy one for our university chapter of the Architectural Engineering Institute. During our Spring semester we were able to have guest lecturers from all walks of industry come speak to us at our bi-weekly meetings. These speakers included John Abraam Associate at Strategic Energy Solutions, Andrea Reynolds PE, Director of Structural Engineering at SmithGroupJJR, Michael Cooper Managing Principle at Harley Ellis Devereaux, and two members from SHWGroup, Rich Corona, PE former Principle in Charge (presently at Tetra Tech) and Chris Mackey Principle and Architect. These professionals all spoke on different topics and projects, as well as gave valuable advice to our students.

As the Fall semester began, we welcomed another incoming class of Freshman to our program and many new members to our student organization. After reflecting on the previous year, AEI's new eboard decided to break away from having speakers at meetings and instead look for opportunities for students to gain knowledge through real world experiences outside of the classroom. Learning on the go so to speak. To accomplish this goal, AEI members were able to participate in Dow Energy Solutions Invision Home tour as well as attend presentations given on Dow's Midland, MI campus. AEI students were also invited to a firm tour at Ghafari Associates in Dearborn followed by a guided toured of recently rennovated and expanded Ferndale Public Library by Seth Penchansky of Penchansky Whisler Architects. This was a good chance for students to see what happens in the office and an example of a finished product afterward. Other highlights of the semester include our 3rd Annual ChiliFest at the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Affleck house and an AEI movie night where we watched the Lorax which addressed the scarcity of resources in this light-hearted film. We wrapped up this semester with a Holiday luncheon where we celebrated the end of another successful year with pizza and snacks, and distributed AEI hoodies and tshirts to students who ordered them through out the semester.

3rd Annual AEI ChiliFest at FLW designed Affeck House

AE students on a firm tour at Ghafari Associates

AEI GreenTrip at Dow's Invision Home
Honors, Awards, and Excellence in Architectural Engineering:

2012 proved to be a year for recognition for many students in the AE program. The Spring Engineering Awards Banquet recognized 4 stand-out students as well as welcomed 4 students as the inaugural class of Architectural Engineering Honors Society, Phi Alpha Epsilon. Students awards were presented to Stephen Gunther (Outstanding Student Award), Rachel LaCasse (Outstanding Member of a Student Organization Award), Kimberly Lis (Academic Excellence Award), and Michael Paciero (Outstanding Service Award). Phi Alpha Epsilon inducted Rachel LaCasse, Kevin Lambert, Francesca Montana, and Elizabeth Ozzello for their academic fortitude.

 Spring 2012 Engineering Banquet
Back: S. Gunther, K. Lis, K. Lambert
Front: R. LaCasse, F. Montana, E. Ozzello

Phi Alpha Epsilon Induction, Spring 2012
L to R: Dean L. Frasch, AE Director F. Walters, F. Montana, K. Lambert, R. LaCasse, E. Ozzello

This Fall the national engineering honors society of Tau Beta Pi (Michigan's Eta Chapter) inducted new members from the College of Engineering, 6 of which belonged to our Architectural Engineering program. These inductees were Stephen Gunther, Rachel LaCasse, Kevin Lambert, Francesca Montana, Isreal Ortiz, and Elizabeth Ozzello. Congratulations on all of your hard work!

Tau Beta Pi induction, Fall 2012
L to R: I. Ortiz, K. Lambert, S. Gunther, F. Montana, E. Ozzello, R. LaCasse

06 January 2012

Summer Internship Daze: Part 5 of an Epic Mini-series!

The Superior Way

My name is Ray LaCasse and I am a Junior here at LTU, studying Architectural Engineering. In addition to managing the AE Insider, I also work full time and go to school. This summer I interned at Superior Electric Great Lakes Company and here are the highlights!

This past summer, I was fortunate enough to work not only for, but also with, some of my favorite people in the world: my family. Following finals week in May of 2011, I began work at Superior Electric, a contract electrical company in Troy, MI. Superior Electric is owned by my father’s brother-in-law, and since my parents’ divorce when I was 8, I hadn’t been very close with my father’s side of the family. Needless to say, I was both excited and anxious to begin work as an electrical engineering intern for the company.

Upon my arrival on the first day, I was greeted by two of my uncles who work in the warehouse and was ushered to my desk in the addition off the warehouse. Here I found myself in an intimate setting with plotters and printers separating the small, yet open office space, I sat on one side near the office of the VP of Field Operations while my boss sat across the space. The company is small yet effective, winning many contracts in the industrial community (think paint and body shops for auto companies, steel mills, etc.). Within a few short weeks I felt like family, and not just because I was surrounded by a few actual relatives, but because it was very clear that everyone in the company could depend on one another and were there to help one another succeed.

For those of you who are not familiar, electrical contractors are the people who actually come in to install the electrical work designed by the engineers and architects for a particular space. I absolutely loved working for a contractor, and took so much away from the experience. Because of the type of company I was with, I was able to truly understand what it takes to build, from the inception to the installation, and all before learning it in a classroom. Watching the trickle down from all the processes above, gave me an appreciation for the process of building as a whole and not just the design and engineering work behind it.

While with Superior Electric, I was able to learn a lot using CAD from my boss and mentor, Paul, as well as a lot about the materials and intricacies required to bring electricity into a space. During my time with the company, I worked on assembling bid documents for project managers, updating “as-built” drawings in CAD to return to owners upon job completion, and getting information out to the field as jobs were in progress. The most valuable thing that I learned was how the bidding process works in real life, as well as the time and effort that goes into making a bunch of lines on a drawing exist in reality. Another valuable lesson I learned is that everyone thinks their way is the best, from architects to engineers to contractors to the tradesmen, so having a sense of humor and tons of patience is paramount.

I was and am still grateful for all the opportunities this internship brought to me.

Fallingwater: Alicia's Experience!

Frank Lloyd Wright is a great inspiration of mine. I am in love with his work. I dream of one day using organic architecture with green technologies. I am in love with the home, Fallingwater in Pennsylvania. I did my senior project in high school based on this building. It has been a goal in my life to visit the home. When Lawrence Tech offered a trip to Fallingwater I quickly jumped at the idea.

I attended the Fallingwater trip. It was just a bunch of students having fun wanting to see a Frank Lloyd Wright building. We all joked around with each other on the way there. The location was beautiful. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures on the inside, so I took a ton of pictures of the outside. As we were touring the inside of the building I thought to myself Frank Lloyd Wright walked these rooms. It was easy to tell what Frank Lloyd Wright wanted and how the owners changed it. This was a great experience to see amazing architecture and to make new friends.

Written by: Alicia Brimmell

05 December 2011

AEI Goes on a Road Trip!!

At 6:50 am, on November 12, I pulled onto Lawrence Tech’s campus, ready for a busy weekend of driving, museum exploration, architecture, and more driving. It was my first ever road trip, and I was nervous, but super excited to start. With our cars loaded and GPS’s ready to go, I, along with 6 other LTU students, began the 6.5 hour drive to Fallingwater in Mill Run, PA.  As the flat roads become more and more hilly, I could tell we were getting close. Around 1:30 we finally reached our destination!  We got there just in time to eat a tasty lunch and check out the visitor center. We were anxious to start our tour and get the chance to explore the house we had all learned about in class.
As we walked towards the house, I could not believe we were actually here!   It looked just as it did in all the pictures I had seen. Once inside, I was amazed at how well Frank Lloyd Wright was able to connect the nature outside with the inside. The design was inspiring, and his attention to detail was extremely impressive.  It was amazing how he worked with the landscape instead of against it. After the tour, we explored some of the terraces and pathways surrounding the house. We make a last stop at the gift shop, and then headed towards Pittsburgh to have some dinner and find our hotel.
The next morning after breakfast, we headed to the Andy Warhol museum. Once there, we began by looking at “Heroes and Villains: The Comic Book Art of Alex Ross.” I was surprised to see his childhood drawings of the justice league. I loved seeing how his artistic ability developed over time.  The rest of the museum was filled with very interesting art pieces that were different from anything I had ever seen before.
From there, we headed to the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.  In the Museum of Natural History, we learned about dinosaurs, prehistoric life, North American Wildlife, and gems and minerals. The Museum of art had a variety of artists, and I really enjoyed looking at all their work.
Eventually, it was time to head home. We had a great weekend, and I learned so much! I can’t wait for the next AEI road trip!

Written by: Francesca Montana

04 November 2011

LTU Students Win AAEA Design Competition!!

This summer of 2011, Tim Truitt (architectural engineering, architecture, and BIM certificate programs), Mark Drotar (architecture & BIM certificate programs), Fadia Shuayto (interior design program) and I worked on the Arab American Architects and Engineers (AAEA) 7-Mile Revitalization Competition, and earned first place for our proposal. 

The AAEA chose the 7-Mile block between Woodward and John-R because this is the heart of Chaldean Town in Detroit. Chaldean Town was established in the 70s, and what was once a thriving neighborhood full of Middle Eastern businesses and families has drastically changed, both from an economic and demographic standpoint. In the early 90s, the Arab American and Chaldean Council (ACC) sponsored and built several new facilities that serve to foster community development; the buildings house programs such as youth recreation, WIC resources, health services, and work training programs. The ACC continues to fund renovations, urban planning initiatives, and other activities like this scholarship competition in order to bring this neighborhood back to a vibrant Chaldean Town.

Our proposal for the urban renewal was comprised of a lengthy report, several comprehensive 3DS Max and Revit renderings, and an appendix. Major highlights of the report included the following:

Ø  Phased approach – First create a Sense of Place using the most economical & simplest updates possible. Landscaping features and streetscape adjustments all serve to slow down traffic and draw attention to the area as a “hot spot” to participate in and contribute to. 

Ø  Sense of Place as it relates to community connectivity – A cohesive community is healthier and more sustainable, and building up the community from a Family Faith Foundation standpoint promotes slow but long lasting growth. 

Ø  Family-Faith-Foundation – Three major cornerstones of our proposal focus on traditionally important values in Middle Eastern cultures. Family friendly designs and businesses, revival of the church and community centers, and additional space for assistance programs at the ACC are all incorporated into the design.

Ø  SABA Street – The design proposes to rename 7-Mile as it runs through Chaldean Town. Saba is Arabic for 7, and the Arabic numeral for 7 looks similar to a cursive uppercase English V. This slanted V logo was reused in design features to reinforce the SABA Street Chaldean Town name.

Ø  Mixture of Middle Eastern tan stone and old red Detroit brick – Incorporating the old architecture with a new and updated Middle Eastern ambiance gives the space continuity and a revitalized Chaldean Town ambiance.

Ø  Final phase includes a large central hub – This space has an open courtyard featuring a monumental and recognizable clock. It provides space for Middle Eastern themed festivals, weekly farmers markets, and has outside seating all of which contribute to that community connectivity that fosters the Sense of Place.

This competition was such a great learning experience for the summer. We all enjoyed evaluating the space as it used to be, as it currently is, and what the future might look like. Undergoing an Urban Planning project with a multi-disciplinary team was exciting considering the Detroit renewal enthusiasm prevalent today. 

Written by: Elizabeth Kaminsky

31 August 2011

Summer Internship Daze: Part 4 of an Epic Mini-series!

Meet George Bellman, a Sophomore at LTU majoring in Architectural Engineering. George is an intern for the Engineering Society of Detroit, find out more about his experience below!

It was my sophomore year of high school when I first was introduced to the fields of architecture and engineering. My computer aided drafting teacher was the most awesome teacher in the school. Everyone who took her class always continued taking classes with her as long as they could. I was fortunate enough to take her for all the drafting courses that our high school offered from Intro to C.A.D. all the way through 3-D Modeling.

After my last class of drafting as a senior, I thought the architecture field was definitely for me. As I searched and looked around for good architecture programs at colleges and universities I stumbled upon Lawrence Tech’s Architectural Engineering program. After a few visits and an acceptance letter from the university I met with my adviser, Professor Walters. As we discussed my class schedule and finances, I asked Professor Walters about possible job opportunities to help pay off some of my student loans. Luckily for me, Professor Walters knew of an opening for a part time intern at the non-profit organization Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD). After submitting my resume that day, I was hired and begin after the new year! Because of a spur-of-the-moment inquiry, and with the aide of Professor Walters, I was granted this grand opportunity. Working with ESD, I was able to not just help as an intern, but also bring outside insight and drafting skills to help the organization with their projects; one being their Future City Competition for the state of Michigan.

One particular project I was able to work on was constructing two one-foot-tall model wind turbines. Of the two wind turbines, one was made out of form-core board, while the other was constructed of clay and wood. Each of the turbines includes a set of how-to-build instructions. This allows students in the Future City program to have a cost efficient option when using a scale model in their project.

Without guidance from my high school teacher and my adviser, I would never have imagined the opportunities I have been given, which with some work, could potentially extend into a career within the field of Architectural Engineering.

Visit Engineering Society of Detroit's Website for more info

Foam Turbine
Clay Turbine

Summer Internship Daze: Part 3 of an Epic Mini-series!

Meet Mike Paciero, a Junior in the Architectural Engineering Program at LTU, and an alternative energy enthusiast. Read about Mike's summer co-op at Peter Basso Associates below. 

Last October I attended a LTU sponsored career fair where I handed out my resume to potential employers and for various internship opportunities (go to these!). As a sophomore in the Architectural Engineering program, I was quite surprised to receive a call back this past spring from the Troy, MI based engineering firm, Peter Basso Associates, who had held onto my resume from the career fair. After interviewing with the firm, I was hired for a summer co-op. I was told during my term with PBA that having an AE program at LTU is helpful to firms seeking engineers who are interested in the built environment.
Going into my first professional job, I was nervous. I knew that the firm used CAD and had no previous experience with it, I had never even taken a class. However, I was able to pick up using CAD along the way and everyone was more than understanding and willing to help a novice like myself out. They even expected to need to teach me quite a bit with the program, so it all worked out great in that respect.
During the course of the summer, I worked as a part of the mechanical group, specifically in the health care and laboratory subsection, within the company. Not only did I learn from my superiors, but I was also challenged to investigate on my own how a mechanical system is integrated into a building. At one point, I studied a whole ground floor of a hospital which was supplied by 4 different air handling units. I had to trace the duct-work back to the mechanical room, create a diagram, and tell my supervisor which unit served each area. Additionally, I utilized CAD to draw existing plumbing and duct plans for numerous projects. Eventually, I was even taught how to calculate the amount of air needed for a certain room based on codes and square footage.
Peter Basso Associates uses their co-op program to prepare students to be potential future employees. At the end of my summer term with PBA, I was invited back for a second co-op term with the company. Hopefully, I will return for a second semester with their firm this winter or next summer, as I fully enjoyed my experience with them. 

Visit Peter Basso Associates' Website for more info