Background Building Studio

Proposal for Niles, Michigan

This studio was organized to teach what a background building was and its role in the fabric of the built environment. It also developed a fundamental understanding of the use of masonry construction in both bearing wall and with frame structural systems. It also taught to understand Architecture as a professional responsibility and not a means of personal expression.

"I am inclined to say that an aspiring architect should go into the world and use his eyes. He should study the great treatises of architecture and learn to see the eyes of others. He should learn to draw the shadows that fall on a Corinthian order, cast by the lines, moldings and ornaments of a whole vertical cross-section. Then, perhaps, he will be forelady for his first project: to design a façade between two existing buildings, in such a way that nobody will be forced against his will to notice it.”

Roger Scruton, Architectural Principals in an Age of Nihilism


The site for the project was in Niles, Michigan and consisted of three design exercises: A background building, corner 'flex' building and a row house. All these structures were to be sensitive to the surrounding context and satisfy the programming requirements.