If You Build It, They Will Come (But You Still Need Tools)
Contact: Jamie Muenzer
Phone: (513) 556-4423
Photos provided by Jim Berns
They say if you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life. And while DAAP Build Lab Manager, Dan Kreimer, will attest it’s been hard work, he says he’s loved every minute.
“You know how when you come to a job and the first people you work with can become really special to you?” He asks. “It was like that with my first group of students – You kind of fall in love with them!” And for seven years he created, explored, and worked side-by-side with them. He doesn’t call himself a “teacher” but surely his students would disagree.
“When I left, I wanted to go on and do other things, but I never stopped thinking about DAAP. I thought about all the things I did at the job for seven years (1984-1991) and how I might do it again. In the back of my mind there was always a subtle hope I’d be back.”
Cue Dean Robert Probst circa 2013.
“Robert asked me to apply for a position that was opening to run the lab,” Kreimer recalls. “I was shocked and surprised – I had always hoped but never thought I’d be back.”
After an extensive career outside of DAAP as a woodworker, Kreimer was the perfect man for the job. He was also told he’d be the lead on an exciting new project: The DAAP Build Lab. And he had a vision.
The Lab’s Great Expansion
For those who haven’t heard, The DAAP Build Lab (formerly known as “The Shop”) is a newly expanded facility within the college that provides students with the tools they need to experiment with materials and produce unique, tangible prototypes of their design work.
Its use has grown steadily over the years, to the point that the university supported an expansion from 4,500 to 12,000 square feet. And right now, the team is outfitting it. With so much space and so much potential, Kreimer lights up when he talks about what this means for future generations of DAAP.
“I’m working on developing a work center with real quality tools for the students to use right when they come in the shop. Sharp chisels, hand planes, clamps, everything. I want students to feel comfortable to come in and experiment.”
All 2,400 students in the college have access to the facility. Each year, approximately 550 first-year students take the safety training necessary to earn their badges and become part of the community of users that make the Build Lab a vital, creative space.
That’s a lot of students. And like books from the library that occasionally end up on your shelf, the history of the shop is much the same.
“Students would come down and borrow stuff,” Kreimer says. “Tools made their way to people’s studios and never found their way back. I know I’ve been to a lot of shops and spaces where I’ve seen a stray DAAP Shop clamp, screw driver or hammer. I know that it happens.”
And Kreimer’s call to action is simple: Pay it forward.
“If you have or have been witness to DAAP Shop tools out in the wild, consider helping us replace it. We’re really trying to ramp up our operations and we have a big enough shop now where we can have students actually work in the space with everything they need.
“It’s karmic payback!” Kreimer laughs.
So much of the DAAP experience happens in this space. As alumni, it’s part of your history. Learning how to build. Being introduced to woodworking. Meeting your best friend or partner. Failing miserably. Successfully welding or using a tool you never thought manageable.
The Lab is imperative to the DAAP story. Help us write the next chapter.
You can find the DAAP Build Lab wish list here.
Your gift will support the mission of the DAAP Build Lab to provide an interactive environment where students combine their creative ideas with raw materials, tools, and work to produce unique products.