Spring 2018 – 497-208: Conventional Residential Construction Reconsidered

Meeting Days/Time
Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:25 to 7:40 pm
Mark McKinney (ARCH) (mmckinn5@iit.edu or naoibri@gmail.com)
Appropriate Majors
Architectural Engineering, Architecture, Business, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Engineering Management, Environmental Engineering, Industrial Technology & Management, Mechanical Engineering
Technological Innovation

The continued increase in the cost of construction materials and labor along with the increased demand to achieve sustainable building envelopes is counter to the necessity to provide affordable habitat. This IPRO project will investigate effective cost and performance alternatives to conventional residential construction.

The IPRO team will scrutinize all components of conventional residential building envelope construction and evaluate opportunities for innovation in efficiency, performance and cost effectiveness. The goal is to achieve alternative and more affordable approaches to small-scale exterior envelope construction.

This IPRO project is an extension of two previous studies:

  • IPRO 208 explored the use of closed cell, thermal insulating spray foam and its structural benefits within stud wall construction
  • Recent development of BASF’s wall system HP+ which not only uses spray foam for its structural value, but also replaces conventional wood sheathing with a new rigid foam board

The IPRO team will explore and build on these two advancements to seek structural and assembly innovations to yield alternatives for greater cost, time, and quality effectiveness. The outcomes/deliverables of this IPRO project will be the compilation of research findings, analysis of performance data, creation of effective diagrams and modelling, and the construction of prototypes.

This IPRO project gives students from a variety of disciplines the opportunity to explore multiple approaches to a problem (affordable habitation) that has both technical and social relevance. The team will be introduced to industry professionals who visit during the semester. The course will be relevant to the disciplines of architecture, architectural engineering, building technology, mechanical engineering, and environmental and social sciences, etc.  Teamwork, communication, logic and reasoning (leveraging prototyping and analytical thinking) and time and project management will be critical to achieving successful outcomes by the end of the semester.  We will also discuss and evaluate the ethical implications of the course’s subject matter. The overarching outcome of the course is achieved when students feel they have moved the bar or set the stage for moving the bar of proposing alternative approaches to the assembly of the building envelope for residential construction through methodically and rationally challenging the conventions that are currently cost-prohibitive.

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