DAAP Completes $2 million Renovation to Create a hub for “State-of-the–Art Maker Spaces”
By: Michele Ralston
Photo provided by Robert Probst, Dean, College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning
The new DAAP Build Lab (DBL), formerly known as the DAAP Shop in UC’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning complex, looks much different today than it did in years past. What over decades evolved into an overcrowded and unsafe work environment is now transformed into a modern design space featuring distinct areas for training, wood and metal working, welding, spray-painting, assembly and more.
“The DAAP Build Lab is critical to our mission. All first year DAAP students attend required training in the DAAP Build Lab.” said Dan Keimer, who manages the facility. “This space and the available design tools instill a respect for materiality by allowing students to create something physical with their hands in a supervised and safe environment.”
“Today, with the focus on digital media, it is especially critical that our students are introduced to fabrication at multiple scales,” said Michael Zaretsky, Associate Dean of faculty affairs for DAAP. “Our job in the DBL is to introduce them to fabrication tools so they can tangibly understand how things are crafted. If we can get them comfortable enough to explore with actual materials then they can translate that understanding into their design projects and their careers.”
Planning for the DAAP Build Lab renovations began nearly three years ago. Construction, which started in the spring of 2017, also included the installation of a high caliber ventilation system to ensure proper airflow and air quality. The upgraded ventilation will allow for much better air quality throughout the DBL spaces.
“The DAAP Build Lab can now evolve as technology advances. What we have created is a state-of-the-art maker space,” said DAAP Dean Robert Probst. “Our students, many of whom have never touched a tool before or cut a piece of wood, can create wonderful, complex design and art experimentations.”
The newly renovated lab includes nine distinct spaces with enough open space to accommodate large group projects. Spaces include a welding facility, a highbay space, a resin room, foundry, and a tool library. The tool library allows students to checkout equipment to use for projects once they have completed the required training.
“We still have more work to do including upgrading some of our tools and technology,” added Probst. “But this space will be the hub, linking all existing DAAP laboratories: computer, photo, rapid-prototyping, printmaking, and ceramics. It will allow our faculty, staff, and students to teach, experiment, and construct prototypes for a better tomorrow.”