Adjunct Professor- Edoarda Corradi Dell'Acqua discusses her projects during ESW IIT GBM

Sat, 2017/10/28

On October 23, 2017, the Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) chapter at Illinois Tech held their general body meeting in the RE auditorium during lunch time. Adjunct professor at Illinois Tech, Edoarda Corradi Dell’Acqua, was the guest speaker for the event.

Professor Dell’Acqua teaches architectural design and her research interest mainly lies at the intersection of engineering and architecture with a focus on conservation of energy. Working in both fields, she has mastered skills in architecture, engineering, and interiors. Her work experience is interestingly comprehensive as she has shared office space in Milan as well as Chicago. She has worked on administrative, commercial, and residential building design with Box Studios and Studio Bandello 6, and integrated design with dbHMS. After graduating with a degree in architecture at the Politecnico of Milan in Italy, she joined the Master's program of architectural engineering at IIT. During her Master's program, she also studied one year in England at the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment and did attend a summer program at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Not only has Dell’Acqua been eulogized from an interdisciplinary working experience, she has also mastered 4 European languages: English, French, German, and Italian. At the general body meeting, she gave us a little background information about the architecture of Chicago, especially concentrating on the lakefront. She explained to us how Lake Michigan, besides being referred as the third coast in the United States, played a pivotal role in shipping and trading. However, the traffic flow of water switched towards a more recreational entity and quality of life. During the industrial period, Lake Michigan was polluted as a result of outbreaks of many epidemics. In 1889, the Sanitary District of Chicago helplessly witnessed Chicago's source of drinking water turn into a medium for disposal of waste; this was due to a lack of technology for creating water sanitization plants. In 1909, Daniel Burnham's plan of Chicago came to the rescue, improving the lakefront. Dell’Acqua, quoting Burnham, said “the lakefront by right belongs to the people.”

Acknowledging the striking history of the lakefront, Dell’Acqua has grown interested in analyzing some of the current issues that the urban waterfronts face in general. The spatial and functional re-definition of urban waterfronts, in contemporary cities, did create a disruption. How? In 2012, the overflows noted were about 21, and today (2017) we have a staggering figure of 31. Dell’Acqua mentioned, “today, the trend is more soft transitions from the city to the waterfront.” Problems that Chicagoans were witnesses to urban flooding (basement flooding), black water and stormwater - if the water level reaches to its maximum capacity, both the sewage water and the clean water are combined together, and reduced impervious road surface in the city - when it rains, the ground does not retain the water. Dell’Acqua has hence come up with a project that aims to revitalize Chicago’s riverfront with a better stormwater management system and carbon footprint reduction.

Her other project includes “The Bronze House,” whereby a group of IIT students -two architecture majors and four engineering majors- accomplished a plan of developing net-zero energy level. Anyone who has vested interest in combining architecture with engineering, or simply wants to learn more about Professor Dell’Acquas’ projects can check out her website: