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The Power of Mock-Ups // Brandon Eversgerd


Throughout the course of the Design+Make Studio, we have been tasked with designing and building new studio desks, a sukkah, pavilions in both Johnson County, Kansas and Alma, Kansas, ReStart Community Room furniture, and a Partial Partition for the new Seaton Hall. Listing them all in a row, it is amazing to realize what we have accomplished up to this point and what is still to be done within the last four weeks of the semester. Along the way, from early stages of design development through what is now final construction, we have gone through some collective class up and downs. Full Scale Mock-Ups have proved invaluable in learning more about our design and educating everyone along the way.


The Studio desk re-design experienced a leg issue when our IKEA legs were deemed too weak to support the massive desk tops. The Sukkah team went back and forth with the design process not knowing if we’d be able to stake into the ground or not while on site. The JOCO team mocked up the column to spine connection several times, while the Alma team did much of the same mocking up of steel connections and the bench fence. My ReStart team ended up mocking up a portion of our massive poche wall’s desk area. Finally, the Project Partial Partition (PPP) team is in the process of acquiring funds to build a full sized mockup, but we have been able to build makeshift ones along the way. These full scale mockups take the design to a level of reality that we can all relate to. Whether you are on the design team mocking it up yourself, a classmate looking on, or even the client having to react to these mockups, they speak to everyone. A physical model takes the design to that extra level that anyone, at any time in the design process, can relate with. They can touch, see, and enjoy the good and bad qualities of any design, through these mock-ups. They really become that connection from drawings on paper and in the computer to little moments that start to make up the potential of any design.

In terms of being on the design team while building these mock-ups, it is an incredibly important step in progressing the design forward. With our ReStart mock-up, Josh, Devin, and myself, were able to really dive into the details of our “poche” idea. It allowed us to better draw construction axon diagrams and take an informed stance on the feasibility of our design. It also was a great lesson in transporting a massive model in a small pickup bed. As far as Project Partial Partition has gone so far, mock-ups have proved hard to come by, but recent mock-up studies, as well as smaller scale models, have helped us add a level of tangibility to the design. 

As the designs with both the JOCO and Alma pavilions have developed, mock-ups have also proven very important learning tools in their design processes. For me on the outside during the majority of this process, especially with JOCO, their mock-ups have really helped me quickly understand the most current design. For Alma in particular, these mock-ups have helped me acclimate myself immediately when I was on site helping set up the site and even when pouring concrete. Also, for the design of the Bench-Wall, since the first mock-up was done to such great success, I was able to confidently jump in and help put together the second revision of the bench. While I wasn’t personally involved in the final stages of the construction documents, these mock-ups helped me stay involved in the project the entire time. 

Finally, for the clients we are technically building these mock-ups for, they are essential in conveying our design to people with not as much architectural background. I know for my ReStart team, it was amazing to wheel our mock-up into the lobby of el dorado and have the client experience our “poche” idea first hand. It allowed them to fully experience what this poche wall might be like and whether they approved of it or not. During the entire design process for PPP, our 3/16” model of the classroom we built has really helped Dean DeNoble relate to our design. While we would like to push it a little further, the smaller scale model has helped both us and the Dean get a feel for the scale of our design, as well as the layout of the studio spaces themselves. Our hope is to eventually build a full scale mockup to place within Peirce Commons to see how our partition would be utilized in a real space. 

At the end of the day, mock-ups are amazing tools that really speak to the development and success of any given design. People, on any level, can very easily connect with built things which prove very important in garnering respect and informed, direct feedback. From early Sukkah mock-ups to Alma’s Bench-Wall, we have learned many lessons while building these models. Whether it be in the construction realm developing our ability to successfully drive in a screw through a 2x4, or even to the small details that make a design that much more sophisticated, all of our mock-ups have taught us something. The lessons learned from mock-ups I helped build to ones I got to experience firsthand, are lessons that I will take from the Design+Make Studio with me into my professional career for years to come. 

Written by Brandon Eversgerd

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