Georgetown Maker Lab
The Georgetown Maker Lab Studio set out to investigate how architecture can engage with the concept of makerspace. In the spirit of Neil Gershenfeld’s global network of “FabLabs” and other DIY makerspaces around the world, we are pursuing an architecture that fosters and promotes collaboration and innovation.
The Georgetown Maker Lab is compellingly sited where the Stock House of the old Seattle Brewing and Malting Company once stood. Construction of the Stock House finished in 1907 but all that remains is a portion of the wall that stands on Airport Way. We studied this unique site through an initial Interactive Installation project, which served to jumpstart our investigations into the intersections between the site and the real and potential character of the Maker Lab. This being the tectonic studio, we also focused on integrative strategies for supporting the wall.
Images courtesy of Arch 501 Georgetown Maker Lab Studio
Ideas and inspiration from the installation project continued to influenced us as we moved to the design of the Maker Lab. Certain investigations from our initial project carried through to the next phase of design: How should this new building (the Maker Lab) relate to the existing building? How can supporting the wall be more than just that? What does collaboration look like spatially? How should the building perform in its larger urban context?
These questions, among others, drove our design process leading into what turned out to be a very successful mid-review. The nature of the discussion brought two particular areas into focus as we head toward the Final Review, I prefer to phrase them as questions: How can architecture perform in response to the diverse nature of activities in a maker lab? And, what is the building’s connection to the wall, and (how) does that language carry-through the rest of the project?