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CEA Unit 8
Commercial Design
Commercial Design Introduction

This unit covers the different systems and concepts that govern commercial building design.  Commercial buildings are things like libraries, malls, coffe shops, schools, and the like.  These are buildings that the public will likely enter, and so they need to be more strongly built.  As the unit continues, you’ll get to put together a library renovation within Revit and think about how you might design or redesign your own commercial buildings! 

Civil Engineers & architects have a lot of things to worry about, and our unit will cover many of them.  In particular, ove the next three weeks we’ll be looking at:

  • Commercial building systems for foundations, floors, and walls
  • Land use & zoning regulations
  • How land is zoned in Fairbanks
  • What goes into a library renovation
  • New tools in Revit for bigger and cooler designs!

When we’re all done we’ll wrap up the unit with the redesign of an entire library, and later in the semester you’ll get to design/redesign a new commercial building. 

Part 1: Commercial Design

Commercial Foundations

The first part of our unit is all about the systems that are used to design and construct larger commercial buildings.  Residential buildings get built with wood frame systems, but coffee shops, libraries, and malls all get built with stronger steel beams.  This way we know the buildings will better withstand events like fires, floods, or earthquakes.  Your job in this first part of the unit is to learn about those different commercial systems and then do some brainstorming for a potential library renovation!


 Watch the videos on commercial systems and take a full page of notes on how commercial buildings are designed and assembled.

 Braistorm 20 library improvements, additions, or renovations for our local public library.  Record your ideas in your engineering notebook!

Create 2 different bubble diagram that show the layout of your potential library renovations.  

  Download the Keystone Library Renovation file and get it open in Revit.  Later we’ll use this file to do a library renovation, and you should start thinking about cool additions, changes, or layouts for it!

Commercial Floors

Commercial Framing

Commercial Wall Systems

In the next part of our unit is all about types of zoning, zoning regulations, and the limitations on what can be built where.  City planners have the job of deciding what kind of buildings should be in different locations in a city. A good plan can make cities better places to live and better places to own a business.  Disorganized city plans can make cities less successful for a variety of reasons.  In this part of the unit you’ll look into what goes in to city planning, and find out how Fairbanks is zoned!


 Take a full page of notes on zoning, land use, and regulations as you watch the videos.

 Follow the link to the Fairbanks region zoning map.  Look at the different layers, and investigate Fairbanks zoning in different ways.  Find at least 10 places you visit (school, home, work, the store), and identify how those locations are zoned here in town!

 Take the Unit 8 Quiz

 Have Mr. Benshoof check-off drawings and written responses


Land Use & Regulations

Urban Planning


Part 3: Keystone Library Part 1

Starting the Keystone Library Renovation

The final part of our unit asks us to learn a few new tools in Revit and do some of the work to start the true redesign of the Keystone Library!  You’ll work with the Keystone Library revit file linked at the left, and add some windows, curtain walls, flors, ceiling, and stairways.  Keep your larger vision for a cool awesome library in mind as you watch the attached presentations.  Then, follow the same procedures shown in those presentations to make the library what you want it to be!

Our next unit (Unit 9) will have us put in furniture, electrical, plumbing, etc… for now we’ll just focus on the bigger layout items like walls, floors, ceilings, stairs, doors, and windows.


 Watch the 5 presentations attached that show how to make different changes to the Keystone library.  Your library does not have to look exactly like what is done in the video, but you’ll want to use the same tools as you try to make the library your own.  Take a full page of notes on these ideas and the different tools used.  Your notes will need to include details on how to create stairways and curtain windows! 

 Do it!  Edit the Keystone library file to make the building what you want it to be.  Add a second story, cool windows and a neat entrance, and start thinking through how other elements will need to be laid out as we add more details later on.

Getting Started

Second Story

Curtain Walls

Green Roofs