Prepare here, build here
One of the University of Kansas students responsible for designing and building the new Galileo Pavilion is a former JCCC student.
Raymond Dwyer attended JCCC from fall 2006 to spring 2007, then transferred to KU to continue his study of architecture.
Dwyer said he was new to Overland Park at that time, having just moved from Florida, and wanted to start at a school in the area instead of jumping directly to KU.
He began taking his first-year architecture studio classes with Jonathan Miller.
JCCC worked for him, he said, because, “Number one, Jonathan is a great teacher, and number two, it definitely prepared me because I hadn’t been in a studio environment like that before. That studio has lasted with me as long as any studio I’ve ever had.”
Miller returned the compliment. “Raymond was a wonderful student. He was always willing to explore the ideas on the fringe of the normal architectural environment,” Miller said. “He was willing to test the limits of his imagination and mine, which is always a great way to learn together in a studio experience.”
The students in Studio 804 handle every aspect of the new building, except for some plumbing, wiring and other services that by code must be finished by those holding certifications.
The 18 students have worked 12-hour days for six days a week, Dwyer said. Thanks to the mild winter weather, the building progress has been good.
“Most people have stopped by to say they can’t believe how fast it’s gone up,” Dwyer said.
Each member of the group has certain tasks to supervise, and Dwyer’s specialty was site development. He not only prepared the site for the building but also worked with existing utilities, such as electric and water, to make sure the building will be properly connected to those services. He’ll also supervise the landscaping of the site along with other 804 students.
Dwyer had worked in construction previously, volunteering for Habitat for Humanity in Kansas City, Kan. (summer of 2009) and Lawrence, Kan. (summer of 2010). Yet those experiences, while great, didn’t teach him nearly as much about the construction process as the Galileo Pavilion, he said.
“I have learned more than I can even describe,” he said. “There’s something about doing the work, seeing it through from design to completion, that teaches so much. And that’s really the point of it.”
The students have been making adjustments to the original design as they go. For example, the plans originally were to construct parts of the building at KU and then have them delivered to JCCC.
Through research, the students found that they could not move the parts that way; they were simply too big. Instead, they amended the plan to build onsite.
They also planned on using gabion walls (a process by which rock is stacked and then encaged by metal wiring). The plan changed, and now slate from old chalkboards will be used as the wall finish.
“During the days when it rained, we spent hours and hours cutting slate at the warehouse,” Dwyer said. “But the time will be worth it, because we think it will add a unique touch to the building.”
Dwyer’s future plans depend on who’s hiring. Once he receives his master’s degree, he’d love to work at an architectural firm.
He’ll have drawings and photos of Galileo Pavilion to add to his portfolio.
“I’m pretty excited about that, really,” he said. “It’s nice for me to come back where I started.”