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SDOB // Ian Cole 


Located just outside of Kansas City, the Sunset Drive Office Building Pavilion (or SDOB) is a multi-use pavilion serving the Johnson County Sunset Building and the seven different government departments located within. The initial pavilion design was done by el dorado inc, but due to unexpected budget cuts and high bids the project looked like it wasn’t going to be possible. These seemingly unfortunate events provided an opportunity for Design+Make to adopt the project and work in a real-world, civic setting.


Our role last semester was to adapt the initial design and simplify the construction and fabrication techniques. We met with the client to determine what elements they found to be essential, and we met with contractors and fabrication experts to determine what elements could be simplified. After a number of meetings and proposals we developed a design that kept a structure similar to the original design with some minor modifications. The structure consisted of recycled wood structure that came from the historic King Louie building in Johnson County, as well as steel that the studio would be welding and fabricating. 

To understand our material palette we fabricated a series of half-scale “mock-ups” to see our designs as built objects using steel and wood. This was an important visual tool, but it also helped us learn about the fabrication process and led us to improvements in our design. The clients greatly appreciated the use of prototypes and because they could see them at meetings we received meaningful and useful feedback. Certain pieces of the project were determined to be too time consuming or too inconsistent to be used in the final assembly. This information led us to what became our final design.

Along with this process of designing and creating mock-ups came the development of shop drawings. The shop drawings are a set of drawings that are used in the fabrication process to show all of the pieces, the dimensions, and the assembly of different parts of the overall project.  The shop drawings were constantly changing and improving over the past month of the semester until they were developed to a level of completion that everyone on the team felt comfortable with. The shop drawings became a formal method of presentation and approval between the design team and the clients. These drawings were used to aid in purchasing materials and guide in the preparation of the cutting and welding machines in the shop.


The next step in the Johnson County Sunset Building Pavilion is a big one; fabrication. As all of the final materials are delivered the team is making the preparations to begin the fabrication of the parts.  These parts will eventually be assembled and constructed in Johnson County to make the final pavilion. This project has been a long time in the making but the prep-work and careful planning done last semester will make for a smooth fabrication this semester. All of this work will pay off at the end of this semester in the form of a beautiful and well-crafted pavilion. 

The next step - fabrication.

Written by Ian Cole

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