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Alejandro Toro-Acosta 2017 - 2023

Graduate architectural design portfolio - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Graduate architectural design portfolio - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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alejandro toro-acosta

2017 - 2023



Hello! My name is Alejandro Toro-Acosta. I am a

graduate student, teaching assistant, and aspiring

architect. In my past work experience, I have

worked across multiple disciplines within in the

AEC industry and am eager to take the next step

as a designer. Looking forward in my career, I

see myself becoming part of a team of dedicated

practitioners who operate across multiple scales

and disciplines to deliver design excellency.

Please feel free to contact me if I can be of

further assistance.

Thank you,

contact

atoroa2@illinois.edu

ale.jav.toro@gmail.com

www.linkedin.com/in/atoroa2

Scan to see

all platforms.

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architectural projects

Hangar 4

adaptive reuse

Pg. 6 - 19

Around the Block

supertall building

Pg. 20 - 29

Stitching Santiago

transit-oriented

Pg. 30 - 37

Silos

additive manufacturing

Pg. 38 - 47

Pier 76

competition

Pg. 48 - 55

Production Habitat

net-zero housing

Pg. 56 - 61

A Space for Play

design exercise

Pg. 62 - 65

other projects

Design Classroom

teaching assistantship

Pg. 66 - 71

Deploy

transformable structure

Pg. 72 - 73

Sketchbook

creative works

Pg. 74 - 81

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hangar 4

adaptive reuse design project

Former Chanute Air Base, Rantoul, IL

Spring 2022

Collaborators: Stuti Bhardwaj and Sirisha Reddy

Prof. Scott Murray

Graduate Design Award Nominee

Continuing the history of Chanute Air Base as a place of training,

Hangar 4, also known as “Grissom Hall” is envisioned as a postsecondary

Construction Trade School where craftsmen, construction

managers, and designers hone their skills by participating in handson,

interdisciplinary projects. This proposal would revitalize the small

town of Rantoul by providing new opportunities for jobs in the skilled

trades to young people.

Link to Video Walkthrough

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Continuing the legacy...

The last vacant hangar from the former Chanute Air Base is over 220,000

square feet in size. The existing structure is defined by two typologies: the

“lowbay” characterized by the sawtooth roof that brings even distribution

of natural light into space, and the“highbay” where cadets were trained to

work on military aircraft.

Masterplanning

The building is zoned into Administrative, Student Life, and Learning areas.

We remove structural bays to create courtyards near the administration and

learning zones. The existing enclosure is separated from the new building

envelope to create a large garden entry.

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Ground Floor Plan


Classrooms

A variety of environments designed for multiple

learning styles.

Workshops

Eight workshops each customized to the need

of the respective occupying trade. The sawtooth

roof floods the space with light.

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Student Life

Students are given amenities such as a cafeteria, auditoriums, and study

spaces.

Gardens

Places to sit outside and enjoy natural daylighting enhance the study

environment.

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Structural Enhancement

Existing 40’ x 40’ structural steel bays are

cleaned and coated with fire retardant paint.

Enclosure Performance

Deteriorated roofing removed to expose plywood

sheathing. 6 inch insulation, metal roofing, and

solar panels are applied.

HVAC Systems Integration

Supply and return ducts retrofitted into the

existing trusses above.

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The Highbay

Where aircraft and

missile training once

occurred, full-scale mock

construction projects

can be realized. The

upgraded facade of the

highbay opens itself up to

activate the runway with

these integrated mockups.

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16 Carpentry students at work in the highbay as management students overlook in their classroom above.


Crates: Modular Workstations

To assist students in their training activities, these

“Crates” house folding benches, tool and material

storage closets, and built-in power supply They

are designed to adapt to the users needs and

store easily within the highbay. Each trade may

customize the toolset depending on their uses.

closed

open

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Detailed Section Model

One of three detailed section models each

designed and built by one team member. This

model details the intersection between the

highbay and the carpentry workshop.

Studio-style classroom (bottom left)

Carpentry workshop (bottom right)

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around the block

supertall residential tower

Streeterville, Chicago, IL

Fall 2021

Collaborators: Jesse Torres-Bello and Mansi Sanghvi

Prof. Paul Armstrong

Along the north side of the Chicago riverwalk, the city’s newest

residential super-tall building presents a new node of activity within

Chicago’s riverside urban network. The form was generated by

translating the figure ground onto the elevation of the tower. Units

push and pull within the structural frame to create identifiable “skyblocks,”

or vertical neighborhoods. Open-to-air sky atriums between

units facilitate social activity while providing users with naturally

ventilated gardens, pavilions, and amenities.

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Streeterville, Downtown Chicago

Locate Podium and Core Aggregate Units Structural Frame

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Sketches

Sky Gardens Diagram

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Integrated TENSION SUPPORT Systems

The structure, HVAC,

and elevatoring are

TRANSLUSCENT SOLAR PANEL

all considered in the

detailing of the project.

Outriggers brace the

megacolumns to the

HVAC

central core at every

mechanical floor.

113F - END OF RESIDENTIAL

MULLION

R.C FLOOR SLAB

INSULATION

DOUBLE-PANE GLASS

CORE WALL

R.C BEAM

BRACKETS

43F - TRANSFER AT AMENITY

41F - END OF HOTEL ELEVATOR

FLOOR FINISH

CEILING FINISH

C-STUD

U-CHANNEL

FRAME

ELEVATOR DIAGRAM

RESIDENTAL ELEVATORS

HOTEL ELEVATORS

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Core and Outrigger Structural System

RETURN DUCT

SUPPLY DUCT

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Podium

The Tower engages the street with commercial areas and a restaurant that

overlooks the Chicago River

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Second Floor Plan


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Podium Section Perspective


A central atrium unites the lobby, restaurant, ballroom, and leased commercial spaces.

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stitching santiago

transit-oriented mixed-use development

Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic

Fall 2022

Independent Project

Graduate Design Award Nominee

Through the lens of a Mixed-Use Residential and Commercial

center, a human-centric urbanism in Santiago de los Caballeros,

the second largest city in the Dominican Republic. Located at the

gateway of Santiago de los Caballeros, the urban proposal seeks to

address the urban condition of the adjacent highway that bisects the

neighborhood of Rincon Largo from the adjacent commercial zones

as well as the Universidad PUCMM.

First, the transformation of Avenida Estrella Salvador into a boulevard

that places public transit over car-centric urbanism is proposed. A

mixed use residential center stitches the community together by

opening itself up to neighboring users for exchange. The ground

level houses retail, a theater, and a library that all community

members can engage. The facade tectonics celebrates both local

typologies as well as the tropical climate.

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City Development

In an ordinance to break up

the severe congestion of

car-based traffic throughout

the city’s main arteries, the

Municipality of Santiago

de los Caballeros plans

to implement a series of

bike-paths, green belts, and

a metro line to implement

healthier and greener forms

of transportation.

We envision that the

highway that used to bisect

the site’s urban fabric is

to be transformed into a

boulevard with a monorail

connecting major hubs

within Santiago.

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Urban Infrastructure Proposal

PROPOSED TRANSIT DEVELOPMENT

MONORAIL STOP

BUS STOP

ELECTRIC BIKE STATION

URBAN TRANSIT + CITY DEVELOPMENT MAP

250m

10m

Street Condition

The metro station is introduced on the main

boulevard. A ribbon of commercial areas activate

the ground plane.

Structure

Pre-stressed concrete flat plate system creates

enough stiffness to resist heavy lateral loads from

hurricanes.

Towers

Four residential towers step up to the office

tower, which is oriented to maximize views to the

mountains and monument.

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Urban Context

Entrances to the courtyard follow urban axes, stitching together what was once two bisected neighborhoods.

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Learning to Design

Design is an endless, yet everrewarding

process.

Learning to design is learning to think.

Its a long path of unlearning, learning

to learn, and learning what works for

you.

It is not a linear path, but one that

goes forward, backwards, sideways,

and upside down.

I have learned to keep following that

path. You have to trust it will take you

somewhere great.

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silos

an exploration in verticality

Champaign, IL, USA

Fall 2020

Independent Project

Prof. Aaron Brakke

This project imagines a new climbing center in Champaign that utilizes

futurist 3D-Printed concrete technology to generate the structure. The

focus was to create formal experimentations with Boolean operations and

reinterpreting the typology of the grain silo as nodes of verticality within the

flat Illinois landscape.

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Climbing in Central Illinois

Rock climbing is an activity seeing increased

popularity in recent years. Because the flat

natural topography of the Midwest limits outdoor

excursions to a few select regions, climbing

gyms are essential in breeding vertically-inclined

hobbyists.

Conceptual Collage

Urbana Boulders

Site Location

The ARC climbing wall

Map of Champaign County

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Form

Program

Extrusion

South Elevation

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Process

Despite this project’s was conception in the

spatial confines of quarantine, I figured it was

essential to experiment with modeling techniques

to begin to generate the cast cylindrical forms

with real cement. Sketching was also heavily

utilized to be able to visualize new spaces to

climb.

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Cylindrical forms and openings create new climbing experiences. 45


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Traversal climbing walls ungulate along the exterior wall. 47


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reclaim pier 76

acsa steel competition studio

Hudson Yards, NYC, New York

Spring 2021

Independent Project

Prof. Erik Hemingway

ISoA Earl Prize Nominee

In the spring of 2021, the former NYPD tow pound on Pier 76

on the Hudson River was issued to be decommissioned. This

proposal envisions the site being transformed into a shell space for

community activists to adapt to their needs. This project examines

shipping containers as the primary activators for small-scale urban

intervention, evoking New York’s history as a port city. A market

is introduced under the existing structural system, while a storage

pavilion provides space for these containers to be transformed into

resilient, inhabitable shelters that can be deployed for commercial

use as well as for disaster conditions.

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Arts along the Hudson

Welcome to Manhattan, home of some of

the world’s most renowned museums, artists,

and movers and shakers of the art world in

the post-industrial era. It is also a cultural

hub for graffiti culture.

MANHATTAN Arts

From the “Warhol superstars” who made art and held hip parties with Andy Warhol at The Factory to the young,

brash urbanites who risk their criminal records, and often their lives, tagging subway cars for street cred, NYC

has always been a hub for the boldest and most revolutionary visual artists worldwide.

Public Parks

Street Art Hotspot

UPPER WEST SIDE

The Guggenheim

The Met

Whitney Museum of

Art [Former]

As Midtown sees increased inequality of

investment in areas along Central Park and

the Hudson Yards, how can we imagine

a space for New Yorkers to “tag” these

developments?

Art Museum

Art Gallery

Famous Work

Artists’ Studio

Jean Michel Basquiat

Andy Warhol

With such a rich art history as Manhattan, Pier 76

could become a new space for the next generation of

urban creatives

HELL’S KITCHEN

MOMA

Banksy

Keith Haring

Gordon Matta-Clark

The Shed

An iconic tag from the anonymous graffiti artist from

England, Banksy, comedically celebrates NYC’s vibrant

graffiti culture. It lasted hours before another cunning vandal

covered it with his own tag

CHELSEA

Whitney

Museum of Art

Rubin

Museum

Gordon Matta-Clark, renowned for

creating art pieces by carved large

sections out of buildings, once carved this

piece out at Pier 52

The Factory

Graffiti Art, both illicit vandalism and commisioned murals, are at the

heart of urban culture. It paints the urban fabric into a street-level public

art gallery

GREENWICH VILLAGE

In 2016, the Whitney relocated from its long standing location

in Midtown to art hub Chelsea in this Renzo Piano-designed

building

The Museum of

Street Art

Before Jean Michel Basquiat would sell his most prized

paintings to the most esteemed art museums, he began his

public art career with the SAMO, in collaboration with artist

Al Diaz

1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020

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Progress

Development of

the project was

continuously

translated on

four boards that

would ultimately

serve as the final

submission.

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production habitat

mass timber housing project

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Spring 2020

Independent Project

Prof. Sergi Serrat

With the goal of creating sustainable communities, timber

construction and energy production were the two driving strategies

in the design of this mixed-use residential building. Passive

climatization within the units is achieved by the facade’s operable

functions, whereas thermal mass is created within the living units.

These functions filter the dialogue between the living spaces and

the exterior. Translucent perosvkite solar cells are implemented

in the enclosure, creating a texture that mimics the terracotta

color of the neighboring buildings. By using the double skin to

control climatization within the timber masses, it allows the building

to produce a net positive in energy production, which is to be

redistributed for public use by means of the ground floor program.

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Bike Shop Sketch Bar Sketch Alley Sketch

Thermal Mass

The building utilizes an operable transparent

polycarbonate shroud that allows the structure to

generate heat through solar mass.

Operability

Bi-folding panels on the balconies allow residents

control in climatizing their unit. Glass louvres

allow for natural ventilation.

Solar Energy

Translucent solar cells on the glass louvres

harvest carbon-free energy.

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Atrium vignette

Bar entrance vignette

Ground Floor Sketch

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Longitudinal Section


Courtyard Elevation

Typical Residential Floor Plan

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a space for play

children’s pavilion

Champaign, IL

Fall 2018

Independent Project

Prof. David Emmons

A semi-permanent playscape is envisioned in the adjacent lot to the

Orpheum Childrens’ Museum in Downtown Champaign. Elevated

platforms are enshrouded by overlapping curvilinear planes, creating

a framework for inhabitants to construct their own rules of play.

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Analog Production

After observing the immediate context, a

playscape was generated through a curvilinear

basswood model that was then drawn

orthographically in plan and section.


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design classroom

graduate teaching assistantship

Arch 171 / Arch 172

Fall 2022 / Spring 2023

Prof. John Clark

Led one section of over 10 students for two semesters. As a TA, I

see myself as a facilitator of design; I allow the unique experiences

of each student inform their creativities while sharing my knowledge

and expertise based on own experiences to help guide themselves

forward as designers. Before one can learn how to teach, one must

learn how to learn.

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Final Reviews

Students spent the semester iterating on a

series of 3d paper collages that where then

recreated digitally and represented in a variety of

orthographic drawings and diagrams. The project

culminated into a graphic novel depicting stories

within the spaces they designed.

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In-class demonstrations

Organized and coordinated among other TA’s to

deliver thoughtful and informative demonstrations

on a variety of modeling techniques, including

casting, lasercutting, 3D-printing, sculpting, and

carving.

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deploy

transformable dome structure

Fall 2022

Collaborators: Urvi Varma, Lukas Elisha, Sree Vandana Bendalam

Prof. Sudarshan Krishnan

As a team, we designed, iterated, and executed a 3 ft x 3 ft

transformable dome that utilizes centrally connected cross bracings

of varying lengths. My responsibilities included resolving the

geometry, 3D modeling, laser cutting, assisting in construction, and

producing the final construction video.

Link to Construction Video

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Level Green

A reinterpretation of

the J. Mayer. H project

of the same name. This

drawing mixes digital with

hand drawn techniques

to generate a vortex of

platforms that distorts

notions of dimensionality.

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sketchbook

selected creative works

Because I came into the field of architecture from the fine arts, It

is important to me to maintain a creative output in the visual arts

outside of my design studios. I primarily engage in this through

hand-drawing, but I also have experience in painting, photography,

video editing, graphic design, linoleum block printing, screen

printing, ceramics, and aerosol.

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Travel Sketches

During my junior year

in Europe, I had the

opportunity to explore

new drawing techniques

through my travels. It was

there I developed what

I feel is my favorite and

most distinctive sketching

style: toned paper with

white charcoal.

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Fine Arts

Ever since I was young I have found comfort in

making art. By allowing myself to grow through

the freedom of expression, I have opened

my perspective to remain searching for new

mediums and ideas.

Kingfisher

Linoleum print, 2017

Gesture

Watercolor, 2022

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Split

Ceramic sculpture, 2017

John Hancock from Lincoln Park

Acrylic, 2023

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Photography

Schönbrunn Palace Gardens

Vienna, Austria

Plaza

Teruel, Spain

German Pavilion in Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain

Cathedral

Geneva, Switzerland

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JTI Headquarters

Geneva, Switzerland

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did you find them all?



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