Constructing Inclusivity Advanced Synthesis Options Studio

Pittsburgh PA

Spring 2017

Professor John Folan 

Focus: Community involvement and project realization

The opportunity to be a part of the Carnegie Mellon Urban Design Build Studio provided the experience of working on real public interest design projects in the Pittsburgh community through a collaborative design build process on an interdisciplinary team.

The spring 2017 projects started with real, reused materials and budgets. They were designed by a team of 9 students through client meetings, consultant feedback and physical prototyping. They were then built from student drawn construction drawing sets used to communicate with professional skilled craftsmen to allow the projects to be completed on non-academic project schedules. These projects not only dealt with architectural physical influences, but political and social ones as well. This was a great learning experience as a young designer. Unique personal skill development of this studio included the opportunities to be a leader within a team, present to large community groups, facilitate discussions for feedback and experience with construction drawing sets, prototyping and fabrication schedules.

As public interest design projects, this work aims to serve the 98% that could not normally afford architects. The term constructing inclusivity represents the way that the projects could have impact not only in their completion but through the design process, integrating communities and investors with the designers in all stages of the projects.

Work executed during the span of the spring 2017 semester resulted in the development of two projects, First Course Cafe Kiosk and Ov Course community pizza and bread ovens. A sample of First Course is shown, a separate documentation book provides a further, in depth description of the work flow and projects.


7800 Susquehanna, Pittsburgh PA

Program: Mobile, adaptable, coffee kiosk built from recycled materials

Focus: Design-build pre-fabrication modules replicable for mass production 

Awarded AIA Pittsburgh Design + Innovation Honor Award 2017


Materials $3,750
Hardware $3,206
Equipment $3,240
Expendables $250
Labor [750 hours] $13,640

Designed, Built and Permitted : 105 Days

The Constructing Inclusivity Studio projects focused on fundamental human needs related to food access, low-barrier entrepreneurship opportunities and job creation. First Course Cafe Kiosk was designed, built and permitted in 105 days. It is now open for business, run by client and entrepreneur- in-training Courtney, a recent graduate of the Trade Institute of Pittsburgh. First course provides healthy and affordable food and coffee to 7800 Sesquehanna, a site in a food desert of Pittsburgh, while creating a community presence in the warehouse lobby through branding and pride. The logo “Strong Coffee, Strong People” creates identity with the building and background of the trade institute.

The cafe is made up of a modular “fleet” of program specific mobile carts. They are mounted on wheels with specially designed locking hardware, allowing the carts to aggregate to a full, efficient and adaptable system that can be compactly locked down at the end of the day. The carts are designed for future mass production and are detailed to be replicable at scale, including ergonomic and functional details developed through prototyping.