KU Mobile Collaboratory

interior view of bus covered in paneling
The KU Mobile Collaboratory (moCOLAB) is a repurposed 1972 31’ Airstream Land Yacht, conceived and designed to be a university/community classroom on wheels. It was born out of recognition that there are many faculty and staff on campus whose work is firmly embedded in community issues—from design and urban planning, to public administration, to public health and clinical child psychology—in close cooperation and reciprocal collaboration with community partners in its place of consideration. The primary schematic design challenge was to fit a complex, flexible program into a fairly tight space. This resulted in movable carts that store things and act as work surfaces, articulated panels that act as seat backs and work surfaces, another cart that holds AV equipment and is also a work surface. Space outside the trailer, under an awning, provides for exterior events, and a new hatchback and ramp facilitates accessibility. The digital model was used to generate scaled prototypes, and drive a CNC router for cutting a new wooden rib system which would be sistered to the existing aluminum structure, and the forms for the fabrication of plywood panels in vacuum bags. An important lesson to be learned from a hands-on studio like this is the opportunity for prototyping and testing prior to actual construction. In this case we mocked up the built-ins with corrugated cardboard, and developed test seating for fine-tuning ergonomics.

Students: Adeola Adewale, Allie Bergmann, Alex Dakas, Doug Dawson, Johan FeriaDuran, Austin Griffis, Patrick Henke, Erin Hoffman, Kayleen Lindstrom, Jessica Luber, Steven Reyes, Elisa Rombold, Aaron Rule, Brianna Sorensen, Dominic Sosinski, Frankie Sun, Riley Uecker, Rachel Wotawa

Sponsor: University of Kansas Center for Research

Awards: "Monsters of Design" Award, Young Architects Forum/Kansas City AIA; Inspirations Award, Practice-based Initiative. Contract Magazine; Design Excellence Honor Award (Concept Category), American Institute of Architects Kansas City
Chapter; Excellence in Architecture Design Award, American Institute of Architects Kansas Chapter.
Year: 2014
Location: Lawrence, Kansas
Course: Arch 509 Designbuild Studio
Instructor: Nils Gore