Stephen Wierzbowski, AIA

IMAGERY

Wierzbowski believes that architecture is an image based practice. His work is conscious of architecture’s history as a visual discipline, and channels the familiar to produce the new. His article “Imagist Design”** (Chicago Architectural Journal, 2000) examined image based cultural trends in design and architecture, exploring historical and contemporary examples. Wierzbowski proposed that architectural forms “are dreams of their origins, not just retreads, but transformed into new objects. This is a design that looks not only forward, it looks everywhere. It believes in the powerful ways in which design communicates.”

DRAWING

Wierzbowski believes that an architectural practice based on narrative and imagery must be deeply rooted in a mastery of visualization and drawing skills, both computer based and by hand. His commitment to hand drawing skills does not oppose computer aided drafting but rather is integral to it. He began his architectural career at Carnegie Mellon, programing some of the earliest CAD applications which in turn lead to a programmer position at Skidmore Owings and Merrill’s Chicago office, one of the birth places of computer aided design.

Narrative

In a world of increasing diversity and data, Wierzbowski believes designers must respond with increasingly diverse and information rich strategies. His work seeks to craft rich details, unexpected forms, and colorful surfaces to communicate a meaningful story to a broad span of visitors. Wierzbowski elaborated on his approach in the essay “Transformation & Typology: The Meaning of ‘A Day in the Country’”* (UIC: Threshold, 1988) which theorized a narrative process of identification and transformation.

 
 

ARCHITECTURE - PLANNING - GRAPHICS  - SITE - ARTS

 
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IMAGERY

Iowa 80 - truckstop masterplanning

WALCOTT, IOWA - 2026

 

The client challenged Wierzbowski to envision the future of the fully expanded main facility. Out of the 2015 master planning study it was determined that the main facility of the 334 acre site would expand from 67,000 square feet to over 190,000 square feet. The client further challenged the architect and his team to create elements, particularly the entries that are “Selfie-worthy”!

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IMAGERY

Oilily

Chicago, Illinois 1990

 

Oilily is a Dutch Manufacturer of casual, stylish and colorful Women’s Clothing. The client desired to stand out in the highly competitive market of women’s clothing. After research into a wide variety of potential imagery, Wierzbowski personally sketched out a menu of 40 plus ideas from prototypes ideas generated with a team of 3 other designers and the client. The client was then able to select the final design.

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IMAGERY

Iowa 80 - World's largest truckstop - renovation

WALCOTT, IOWA - 2005

 

After seeing the “Big Barn” Harley-Davidson in Des Moines, Iowa in 2003, the client contacted the architect to master plan, program and design a 10 year expansion plan of the main facility. Out of the 2003-04 master planning study it was determined that the main facility of the 100 plus acre site would expand from 43,000 square feet to over 67,000 sf.

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DRAWING

MOTOROLA - future experience lab

Glencoe, illinois 2010

 

MOTOROLA MOBILITY REQUESTED THAT STEPHEN WIERZBOWSKI CREATE A WORKING LABORATORY FOR THE EXPLORATION FOR THE APPLICATIONS OF MOBILE TECHNOLOGY IN THE HOME AND OFFICE. IN A COMPLETE INVERSION OF THE SECRECY CLOAKING RESEARCH LABORATORIES, THE CLIENT WANTED AN ENVIRONMENT THAT WOULD ENCOURAGE EVERYONE FROM DESIGN, ENGINEERING, USER INTERFACE, PROGRAMING, MARKETING OR MANAGEMENT TO SHARE IDEAS AND OBSERVATIONS WITH THE CORE PROJECT TEAM. TOWARD THAT END, A “FISH BOWL” STYLE SITE WAS SELECTED AT A MAJOR TRAFFIC INTERSECTION ON THE LIBERTYVILLE CAMPUS.

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DRAWING

iowa 80 - trucking museum

Walcott, iowa 2007

 

The Iowa 80 Trucking Museum was designed for a collection of over 100 antique trucks. Wierzbowski looked at the artifacts of road side, Route 66 Americana and eventually concluded with the client the imagery of a transformed Art Moderne gas station, upscaled to accommodate the display of entire trucks and trucking artifacts.

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DRAWING

valicenti residence

glencoe, illinois 1993

 

Valicenti Residence was the result of an illustrated conversation between an award winning graphic designer, his wife, and the architect. Wierzbowski created a menu of sketches of a wide diversity of exterior and interior imagery that was then selected by the client to integrate with the neighborhood while maintaining a wide open spacious interior floor plan.

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narrative

zook's harley davidson

des moines, iowa 2004

 

Zook’s Harley-Davidson came about through storytelling by the dealership’s owner Tom “Zook” Zucker. Tom asked Wierzbowski to help him realize the fantasy of every Iowan, finding a “Hog” in the back of an old barn pen, buying it from the farmer, fixing it up, and riding it for the rest of his life.

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narrative

Harley davidson - Kansas city visitors center

kansas city, missouri 2003

 

The Kansas City Visitor’s Center exhibits were designed to “pre-inform” the visitors to the Kansas City Harley- Davidson Assembly Plant. The exhibit required the coordination of multiple stake holders in the selection of the design direction. The imagery comes direct from the factory floor, utilizing many of the objects and devises found there to narrate a story about the assembly of a motorcycle.

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narrative

art inside out

art institute of chicago, 1992

 

Art Inside Out was an exhibit in the Art Institute of Chicago Kraft Education Center. It was designed to communicate a narrative about art in its context in space, time and culture. The storytelling was controlled by the geometry, with the context being concealed by angled walls on the way in, and revealed on the way out. By the nature of the exhibit, each of the six extraordinary exhibits was its own unique narrative of the art’s context.

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