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Thread: Facilities for a planning/design studio

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Facilities for a planning/design studio

    I'm going to build a small planning/urban design studio for my department. Can anybody recommend: 1) what facilities we should have, and 2) which brand to buy?

    The computers/workstation should have the capability to handle high-end 3D animation and simulation. The drawing tables should be mobile. The school does have some budget limit so the facilities should be cost effective.

    Thanks a lot.
    English is my second language, but the earth is my first hometown

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    I'll start: Drafting tables, light table, color plotter,

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Students kill stuff

    Buy the heaviest, most indestructible drafting tables you can buy. College kids kill stuff...usually accidentally, but still, we are accident prone.

    Also, I personally love the lamps that clip onto the table rather than the kind that screw on or have to be mounted. This comes in handy when you're the only one in the studio. You can "borrow" a lamp from another drafting table and have twice the light. Also, plan for good quality ceiling lighting. Track lights that can be pointed in different directions usually works pretty good. Many students will be working late at night so it is crucial to have a good light source. Speaking of lights: be sure to always have plenty of replacement bulbs on hand for the light tables, desk lamps, and ceiling lights.

    Also, seating is key. I'm a fan of the sturdy 70's style swivel stools with the metal base. I hate drafting "chairs" because I'm short and fat and have trouble getting into tall chairs. They also tend to loose their ability to raise and lower after about a year of student use. Just be sure to get something sturdy and comfortable.

    Side note: my college's drafting studio was on the second floor of a historic building that had "settled" I accidentally rolled across the room while trying to get into a chair on more than one occasion due to the slanted floor....that said...beware of rolling chairs and hallway races

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Just some ideas from my current job and my old arch classes...

    DONT be cheap with the large format plotter, it will be one of the more expensive items to purchase. My office uses a HP 1050c that prints up to 36" wide and has been very reliable. Make sure you or someone knows how to do simple repair in case this breaks down, and that you can get tech support on the phone or in person during an emergency (so sense in having this thing crash the night before the semester end presentation).

    1 or 2 laserjet printers (don't need to be a floor model, can be a desktop version).
    Ink jets are too messy and students are too impatient to wait for drying time.

    1 color copier (laser jet, preferably a floor model that can also print at tabloid 11x17).

    A standard flatbed scanner that can do legal size.

    Cutting board.

    Large 3' metal straight edge.

    You should setup a print card for student use of the laserjet printers, color copier, and especially the plotter. I think you will need to provide the plotter paper, however if the students want to plot on mylar, vellum, or acetate, they would need to provide their own paper.

    Create at least one network server that will backup the network each day or each week. You will also need to purchase at least one if not multiple licenses for software at each computer station. Here is a wishlist:

    Microsoft: Office, Publisher, Project
    Adobe: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, Acrobat Reader
    AutoDesk: AutoCAD, Revit, Vis
    Sketchup
    Solidworks, TurboCAD, Quark, SPSS
    Maybe GIS, depends on what type of design work you are doing.

    Personally I would go with bright overhead flourescent light (it's ugly but dirt cheap).

    Dry erase boards and a good stock of useable dry erase markers.

    Students should be responsible for providing their own markers, pens, trash paper, sketch pads, architecture and engineering scales, etc.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    Another thing to think about: Storage for student supplies/projects. They will need a safe place to store their pencils/pens/scales/trash/tape/etc. as well as their projects that are in progress and completed.

    The large file drawers (24x36, i think?) work nicely because most supplies can be stored in the drawer as well as student work. They do, however, take up more space.

    Another alternative would be square cubbyholes with each student being given a cardboard tube to put their work in.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by anf View post
    Another thing to think about: Storage for student supplies/projects. They will need a safe place to store their pencils/pens/scales/trash/tape/etc. as well as their projects that are in progress and completed.

    The large file drawers (24x36, i think?) work nicely because most supplies can be stored in the drawer as well as student work. They do, however, take up more space.

    Another alternative would be square cubbyholes with each student being given a cardboard tube to put their work in.
    A few other things to consider:

    1. Studio used by one or two classes vs. studio used by entire department/departments. In my architecture studios, we had about 20 students per studio. It was okay to leave out our own supplies because that was our primary workplaces. Yeah, you did run the risk of the freeloader who borrowed balsa wood and technical pens and never repayed you, but that was just part of life. Later on, when I switched to planning the design studios were used by everyone, so we kept track of our own equipment (these studios didn't place emphasis on modeling or drafting so alot of our supplies (scales, trace paper, markers) were easily transportable.

    On the otherhand, there are also very large studios where each student has their own assigned work station but is in a very open environment (Ohio State's Knowlton School has hundreds of workstations within one giant room) so security might be a whole different issue).

    But I digress...

    2. Small design studio for small department vs small design studio for large department: one might lead to greater wear and tear on classroom supplies than the other.

    3. A cheaper alternative to providing a floor-length drafting table is to require the students to purchase a table top drafting table (still have mine in the basement at work).

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Thank you very much for the info

    It's really helpful.

    Thanks a lot!
    English is my second language, but the earth is my first hometown

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