Design with the users in mind.
How will your makerspace function daily? We asked this as we started to design a makerspace as part of the Research Commons renovation project for the University of New Brunswick’s Harriet Irving Library. Inspired by the success of an existing makerspace on campus—that serves the Engineering and Computer Sciences department—and the school’s desire to turn the library into a central hub for interdisciplinary research and collaboration, we are creating another kind of makerspace. Equipped with analog and digital tools—from worktables to 3D printing—as well as amenities including lockers for student projects, the space will offer the librarians, students and faculty a chance to further define its present use and future potential.
Consider the look and feel of the space.
How should your makerspace look and feel? The aesthetics of makerspaces implicitly and explicitly indicate how users can engage in the space. Unfinished floors, moveable chairs and tables, overheard power reels, suggest that they can adjust the environment to suit their activities.
When we were asked to design the new Crafts Center at UMass Amherst’s Student Union, a student-run space that dates to 1971 and has deep roots in craft making, we envisioned a space that reflects that history and looks both industrious and open to future experimentation. Sealed concrete floors, exposed ceilings with industrial lighting and lots of access to power convey a workshop feel, while a variety of display areas showcase a variety of supplies as well as student creations. The full process–beginning with raw materials to making and creating the final product–is rendered transparent.