DESIGNER COLUMNS & BLOGS / Architecture Is Fun

Posted in Architecture Is Fun on June 23, 2014 3:46 pm EDT

Making Good: #NationOfMakers #MadeThis #Makerspace #SacredSpaces #STEM #STEAM

As designers and professors, we are often the tinkerers and early adopters of technologies and tools....


 

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By Peter Exley, FAIA, and Sharon Exley, MAAE, ASID

Makerspaces are percolating, with good reason, across the U.S. via mobile labs and appearing in museums, libraries and sacred spaces. Hacker Jeff Sturges founded Mt. Elliott Makerspace in a church basement in Detroit.

As the school year wound down and our education commitments ended, we toyed with how “making” impacts our teaching and our design roles. In fact, the first ever Day of Making [was] announced by the White House (June 18, 2014), in support of manufacturing in the USA and as a symbol of the maker revolution and its global impact. President Obama and the White House will bring makers together in Washington, D.C., to demonstrate innovation and creativity that is being born in Makerspaces, fab labs, think tanks, basements, and garages across America.

As designers and professors, we are often the tinkerers and early adopters of technologies and tools. We know that experimenting, even failing, can lead us to innovative design solutions. Makerspaces create flexible and fun environments where users have hands-on opportunities to learning that is made physical by applying science, technology, engineering, art, math, and the imagination to solve problems and build things.

During this academic year, we were playing with or researching desktop 3D printers, cutting-edge textiles, laser cutting, electronics, including micro-controllers, robots, electromechanical creations and Arduino open-source prototyping platforms. Makerspaces combine these types of tools and equipment, your community and education for the purpose of enabling users to design, prototype and create manufactured works; all of which would not be possible to those working alone without access to resource and help from those who make. More importantly, we see Makerspaces as community builders with tools. They are collaborative enterprises, centers that provide ways to learn from one another within an empowering environment—one that sparks fun, ignites the imagination, and retools our abilities.

Makerspaces are percolating, with good reason, across the U.S. via mobile labs and appearing in museums, libraries and sacred spaces. Hacker Jeff Sturges founded Mt. Elliott Makerspace in a church basement in Detroit. With “it takes a village” mentality, the neighborhood workshop came about through the shared efforts of its founder alongside Reverend Randolph, the Church of the Messiah, the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, Earthworks Urban Farm, OmniCorpDetroit, and the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition. This collaboration is a replicable model, one in which it is critical to set up a location where kids (and adults) are free to do and construct what they want.  continued >>

 

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