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Architectural program encourages hands-on learning

The bookmobile under construction.

The bookmobile under construction.

Each student in the professional master architectural degree program at the University of Kansas School of Architecture and Design is required to take at least one hands-on class to build something, whether it’s a piece of furniture or a construction project.

“It gives them some insight in what people that are going to use our drawings are going to have to go through. Constructability is a really big thing for me. It’s really easy for us to design details that can’t be constructed because you can’t get a wrench in a tight area or the sequence of construction is too complicated,” says professor Nils Gore.


“We’re not really training people to be craftspeople, we’re training them to be designers. But as part of their education, we have an extensive construction laboratory that’s 68,000 square feet, so it’s big. That allows us to do a lot of experiential learning opportunities that most people wouldn’t be able to do in a college setting, so we do a lot of different community-based construction projects of different kinds.”

A recent project was a bookmobile for the Lawrence Community Library. Gore ordered a Shaper Origin and a set of Lamello Cabineo connectors for the project, and two students started building it in the lab this past summer.


“I like to use the digital technologies as much as possible to help speed up the job. I was looking at Shaper Origin website and saw a tutorial where guy was making a cabinet with those little Lamello connectors. They allowed us to systemize the construction of the cabinets, since there’s just three of us, so we could bang out that construction, and they will allow for truck modification in the future if needed,” Gore says. 

This article was originally published in the November 2021 issue.

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