OPRF grad has dreams of turning van into 'maker space'

Architect Maya Bird-Murphy wants to retrofit step van for mobile design, construction workshops

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Print

By Michael Romain

Staff Reporter

An Oak Park and River Forest High School alum is a step closer to her goal of retrofitting a used Workhorse P500 step van into a mobile "maker space," where young people from Chicago and the suburbs can learn all kinds of problem-solving skills in areas like design, construction and architecture. 

Maya Bird-Murphy, 26, said in an interview on Monday that she recently launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise $10,000 — the minimum she believes it will cost to transform a van roughly the size of a UPS delivery truck into a space for conducting more advanced versions of the workshops she currently offers to area students. 

Bird-Murphy is the program coordinator for Architecture Adventure, a program that offers hands-on workshops in construction and design to Oak Park elementary and middle school students. Last year, she started a nonprofit, Chicago Mobile Makers, with the goal of offering the educational workshops in a van and eventually a permanent space. 

"We just connected with a contractor, Formed Space, and they jump-started this idea again," said Bird-Murphy, who works at an architectural firm in Chicago. "We bought the truck in April and I was thinking we wouldn't be able to start, because we didn't have the funds. But Formed Space made the project seem more possible." 

Bird-Murphy said that the retrofitted van will allow her organization to offer more advanced youth workshops. 

"We can start offering levels of classes, like 3-D printing 101, and you'd be able to take classes that get more and more advanced and that allow you to build your skills," she said. "The van will have power tools, a 3-D printer and a laser cutter, and will be run on a generator. It will have everything you need for a project." 

According to the Indiegogo site, Mobile Maker's mission "is to engage and empower youth through making and skill building, train and support future public interest architects, designers, and makers, and to advocate for social, economic, gender and racial diversity in the architecture and broader design fields." 

Bird-Murphy is hosting a construction kick-off party in Chicago's West Loop on Tuesday, July 16, at 5:30 p.m. She'll have the van on display. Anyone who contributes at least $15 to the Indiegogo campaign will get free admission to the kick-off party; otherwise, tickets are $20 at the door. 

To donate to the Indiegogo campaign, visit: indiegogo.com/projects/the-chicago-mobile-makerspace#/.

CONTACT: michael@oakpark.com 

Reader Comments

1 Comment - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Edwin Haag  

Posted: July 12th, 2019 8:55 PM

Extremely cool. I'll be there with a C-note in hand.

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2019

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.


            
SubscribeClassified
MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad