A wide shot of a ceramics studio, featuring students working with pottery wheels and other tools.

Current Student: Heidi Metcalf (MArch 2019)

Heidi Metcalf, Master of Architecture '19

What factors influenced your interest to study at SAIC?

Having a somewhat technical background in architecture throughout undergraduate and a few years of practicing within the profession, I knew that I was looking for a program that would give me the freedom to explore interests in a variety of fields and how they apply to my greater understanding of architecture.

Where did you previously study and what topics did you investigate?

I received a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Ball State University. My interests during that time were primarily focused on the relationships of architecture, digital media, and craft.

Leaving (Model): A study showcasing the quantity of refugees that came to Illinois between 2010 and 2017. Point (the country from which the refugees traveled) Line ( how many came each year) Plane (projection of the world through latitude and longitude)
Leaving (Drawing): Overlaying the incredibly convoluted process of refugee resettlement onto the fire escape detail, each stair landing is situated spatially based on the growing or diminishing refugee population for the past 6 years.

What courses within AIADO have helped shape your current work?

All of my design studios within AIADO have given me the freedom to put my own spin on project prompts, taking me from a museum of residency examining the role of forced migration through architectural intervention, to a "wall" of housing that rebels against the invisible barriers that choreograph life in the city, and a "nation sized" presidential center functioning as an apparatus of change.

How has Chicago as a city influenced your research and practice?

The greater network of architectural explorations happening in the city is inspiring. Whether visiting both large and small firms, critiquing architectural exhibitions, attending the Chicago Architecture Biennial events, or simply examining the active skyline, SAIC’s location in the center of all of these architectural activities has influenced my work by exposing me to an immense breadth of inspirations.

What are you currently investigating in your work now?

At this moment I am questioning the relationship of architecture and data, and investigating both physical and digital landscapes within which data can be used to create experiential space.

Local Nuance: Operating physically within but politically against geopolitical boundaries, the nuances of hyper-localized living conditions thrive at three scales: the urban, the neighborhood, and the dwelling.
Localizing: Considering the locations of New York City’s art through the juxtaposition of median income data and museum/art gallery sites reveals that art culture is often restricted to the wealthiest borough of Manhattan.
Political Ties: In an effort to understand the political factors and implications for the future site of the Obama Presidential Center connections were mapped to question the results and changes depending on the predominant stakeholder.


Read more interviews with AIADO students here