Floyds Knobs student design

Schyler Cerqueira sands the thermally modified wood in preparation for construction of the threshold.

MUNCIE — Thanks to a Ball State University immersive learning experience titled i-Made, Floyds Knobs resident Schyler Cerqueira is seeing her creative architectural designs become reality while serving the Muncie community.

Cerqueira is a master of architecture student who worked on an entrance threshold and courtyard perimeter fence for a local makerspace. As Ball State took aggressive measures to mitigate the threat of COVID-19, Cerqueira completed the remainder of the immersive learning course remotely and collaborated with community partners virtually.

The entrance threshold is an entry sign installation in Madjax’s courtyard. The threshold project will be the primary point of interaction with people entering the Madjax property and will serve as an inviting advertisement for the facility. Cerqueira contributed to the creative design process and computer modeling of the threshold and fence.

“These designs will help enhance the courtyard at Madjax and make it an enjoyable space for everyone in the Muncie community,” Cerqueira said in a news release. “Much of architecture work in the university setting is theoretical, so seeing my ideas come to life is an amazing feeling.”

The immersive learning experience — led by Associate Professor of Architecture Kevin Klinger — has more than 10 industry partners that contribute professional expertise and materials to bring the students’ various designs to life. The i-Made title stands for Indiana, information, and individual, the three critical elements of the project.

“We implement a forward-thinking methodology called design-through-production that allows students to see the entire process of realizing architectural work,” Klinger said. “Students conceptualize ideas and then work directly with producers who provide feedback and mentorship until the design is a physical product.”

The threshold isn’t the only design being produced in the course. From exhibitions, to farmers market improvements, transportation enhancements, and pop-up mobile libraries, students fabricate digital design solutions with partners such as the Indiana Hardwood (hardwood is the state’s largest revenue crop), Midwest Metals, Minnetrista, and more. EcoVantage even donated thermally modified Indiana Hardwood lumber, which was sourced from sustainable forests and due to thermal modification, much more durable in outdoor settings.

“The impact is manifested in that we are providing students empowering opportunities to be civically and regionally minded, to tap into a global network of knowledge, and to make a difference where they live at college,” Klinger said. “Both students and industry benefit from this exchange of ideas.”

Cerqueira is using this immersive learning project to propel her closer to her career goal, which is to work for an architecture firm and earn her architecture license. Passionate about sustainability, Cerqueira also strives to become LEED AP certified in the upcoming years.

“The R. Wayne Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning and its faculty have taught me so much and helped me develop a love and passion for architecture,” Cerqueira said. “It’s what’s made me stay at Ball State for six years for both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees.”

Klinger said he is glad to help students find their passion and purpose at Ball State.

“Seeing the students’ inevitable enthusiasm and leadership when they realize their responsibility and capability to make an impact is incredible,” Klinger said in the release. “I try to light their fire and then take a step back and watch them take over.”

Funding for the immersive learning project includes the generous support of the Shaeffer Fellow Endowment.

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