Smart Home



Le Corbusier said a home is a “machine for living.”  Aria has just had the privilege of designing and building a “Smart Home,” a machine for learning that will make other homes much more efficient machines for their residents and society.  


The Smart House was Prof. Mohammad Shahidehpour's idea, the Galvin Center for Electricity Innovation director at Illinois Institute of Technology. A globally-recognized figure, Dr. Shahidehpour and his team are increasing our ability to use less energy.  For instance, his “Perfect Power Project" funded by the Department of Energy (DOE) has converted the IIT campus to a smart microgrid with a 20% reduction in its base load consumption and 50% reduction in consumption,” according to the University. At the Smart Home, researchers emulate actual domestic electricity consumption

patterns at the Smart Home, by activity, time of day, season, etc.  


People will need machines for living.  Based in part on Smart Home, we can hope their homes are considerably more efficient than any we have now.

Charter School of the Dunes (K-12; Gary, Indiana)





This project was the final iteration of a project to create a new home for the existing Charter School of the Dunes in Gary, Indiana. The new school follows the original intent to create a memorable image for the school, set along an industrial corridor, using pre-engineered metal building components.  The goal was to take advantage of the industrialized systems to serve the school’s need for a new facility that is low-cost, quickly constructed, and which has a low dead load because of the sandy soils of the site in this duneland environment.


Eric Davis, Partner at Aria Consulting, previously designed the earlier versions of this project while at CDM. His firm, PDA, was hired to serve as Design Architect for the conversion of the school design, previously a K-8 school, to a K-12 school, i.e. to redesign it and add a high school.

Discovery Charter School (K-6; Chesterton, Indiana)



This project was designed by Eric Davis, Partner at Aria Consulting, while working at CDM. It involved the complete interior renovation of an existing two-story, 26,000 SF office building for use as a K-5 charter elementary school. The existing building's suspended ceilings were very low, as was the school's budget, so the design was to remove and not replace them, leave the existing overhead HVAC and lighting systems exposed which also makes the rooms taller and more open. Other than some new windows to provide code-required natural ventilation, the budget did not include any exterior renovations. The design also involved moving corridor and classroom walls slightly off the rectangular grid, which reduces acoustic reflections and also breaks up otherwise bland rooms.




Lawndale Academy Renovation (K-8; Chicago, Illinois)



Lawndale Academy, is an US $8 million, 2-building renovation project for which Eric Davis was senior architect and Architect of Record for this project while working at CDM. This older building is listed as an official Chicago Landmark.




GAP/Noble School



The Grace and Peace Community Church purchased an existing 80,000 SF former paint storage warehouse for use both as its new home and as a community center. This project was designed by Eric Davis, Partner at Aria Consulting, while working at CDM. The decision was to attract a charter high school as a tenant, producing some income for the church, so the design also included the build-out of the majority of the building for what was projected as a new Noble Network school. The site strategy included locating a new large multipurpose space, which could serve as a gym for the school during the week and as the large worship space on evenings and weekends.

Linne Elementary School Addition (K-8; Chicago, Illinois)

  • New face to existing campus – re-unification

  • Articulation of color and volumes within low-cost structure

  • Variety of detail and composition within “prototype” vocabulary


Chicago Public Schools

This project is a 32,000 SF addition to an existing four-story elementary school on Chicago’s northwest side. It contains nine classrooms, a gymnasium, lunchroom, library and computer classroom. The addition was an expansion over the typical “prototype” addition design with elements such as the entry stair tower and the juxtaposition of the more playful K-2 wing with the more straightforward 3-4 wing within this K-8 school. The design challenge was to break down the scale of the box-like “prototype” upon which the program was based into discreet blocks, to mediate the scale between an adjacent commercial laundry and the residences next door, without breaking the cost envelope.


The design brings together the materials from the two pre-existing buildings into a richer and more playful palette. The gym element is expressed in a visually distinct manner and animates the new courtyard between existing and addition. This project was designed by Eric Davis, Partner at Aria Consulting, while working at OWP+P (now Cannon Design).