Staff sketches of nearby buildings in the Mission neighborhood in San Francisco.
By Alexandra Spautz Waterson, LEED® AP BD+C
The “maker” trend is a catch phrase heard outside the confines of our office, and even outside the architecture profession. While you might find a maker space in our clients’ buildings or a tool for learning in our clients’ programs, it can also be a brand distinction for an artisan cheese, a DIY (Do It Yourself) YouTube video, or handmade card. “Maker Culture” even has its own Wikipedia page. It has gained popularity across the country and in many different fields.
At EHDD, making is something beyond a trend or a catch phrase, it is at the core of many of our personalities and ambitions. We are makers. We have musicians, chefs, DIY home-renovators, furniture makers, painters, photographers, videographers, writers, and more amongst our midst. Many of our designers, architects and technical staff have deep passions and personal ambitions for making things.
Every year we dedicate a month (or so) to celebrate design in a series of lunchtime and evening events that get the office talking and thinking about design beyond our usual project-based work. This year our design month title was EHDD Makes. It was just one of the many ways our enthusiasm for making informs our office culture. While it was the inspiration for a month long event, I see it as the essence of most of the people that work here.
As architects at EHDD, much of our time is spent documenting the design for something someone else will make. EHDD Makes is a theme centered on the act of making with a goal to learn about and engage in craft and fabrication, and to tap into our local maker network. This year we visited local maker studios, got out and sketched, and had hands on demonstrations and discussions.
Check out some of the highlights from this year:
- Mixology Kickoff Event with Method Brewing: Robert Schiemann is a computer scientist and mixologist, he came in and wowed us with a tasty selection of margarita cocktails. Each drink tasted notably different with just one or two ingredients slightly altered or swapped out. Finding the right combination of ingredients in any design, edible or otherwise, is an art.
- Heath Ceramics Factory Tour: We toured the Heath factory on 18th Street,which is around the corner from our office. We got a historical narrative of Heath, as well as a peek into the secrets of how their beautiful tiles and other ceramic products are made. We witnessed enormous kilns and ceramics being made and glazed by hand.
- It’s a Sketchy Neighborhood Tour: Our own Kevin Killen, director of the residential studio at EHDD, lead a group of us through the Mission and talked about the history of the area, including buildings that were once used to house factories, breweries, and auto manufacturing. He has continued this tradition beyond design month, weaving it in to short lunch trips.
- Gemmitti Model Art Tour: Gemmitti is a local model maker around the corner from our office. They gave us a tour of their space and talked about their work.
- 3D Print Workshop: Matt Bowles, a designer at our office, is also rehearsed in the art of 3D printing. He did a demo on how to create a 3D model from our in-house machine to a group of us itching to learn.
- Pier 9 Autodesk Artists in Residence Tour: We toured the Artist in Residence workshops at Pier 9. This is a program run by Autodesk (whose name is on a lot of the software we use). They have nifty machinery in their workshops, including a plethora of 3D printers, top of the line wood machines, and super precise metal fabrication machines.