About this project
How it Started
X-Space started as a school project in Studio H, an 8th grade class at REALM Charter School in Berkeley, California.
Our teacher, Ms. Nini (Hallie Chen) asked us what else we wanted from our school. Everybody had some crazy ideas. People wanted a space to find out how microphones work. Some wanted to know where graffiti came from. Others just asked for a place to relax. Overwhelmingly, most students just wanted a place to read and explore: a place to discover.
At Studio H, students and teachers have the audacity to build the environments they need and imagine, and so that's what we did: we designed a place to read, relax, explore and discover for our school.
Designing a Library
Some people call a place to read and explore a Library. We just call it our X-Space. For us, X is something that can be anything, and we thought that would be a perfect place to explore. (That's the empty X Space below.)
We designed everything that makes a great library: the bookmarks, the book stamps, the book bags, and the coolest is STAX: a shelving system made out of hundreds of stacked X's. With all of these STAX, we'll be able to fill X-Space with thousands of books.
STAX look and work great by themselves, but they're even better, stronger, more beautiful, when put together as many. We designed them out of low-tech materials (13-ply finished plywood), but they are made using high-tech CNC technology (thanks to our good friend Carl Bass, CEO of Autodesk). When put together, they create an incredible structure with a curvy front facade.
You can do anything with STAX: you can make your new favorite shelf. You can make supports for a table or legs for a bench. You can make a mile long wall if you want. Whatever you do with them, they'll definitely be the coolest piece of furniture you own.
The money we will raise on Kickstarter will be used for the STAX building materials, 3000 books, and all the technology to create our X-Space. Approximately $30,000 for books (3000 volumes), $20,000 for construction materials, lighting, fixtures, hardware, $15,000 for technology, and $10,000 for software, subscriptions, periodicals and ebooks.
How You Can Help
We’re proud of what we've designed for our X-Space, and we want them to spread beyond our walls so others can enjoy them, too. We’re not only making these STAX for us, but for you, too. Every time you pledge one on Kickstarter, our library gets one, too. When you pledge, you will be a physical part of making the X-Space real. Your name might be in a book or prominently written on our donor wall. You'll be permanently remembered for making X Space happen!
$25 – Bookmark
We’ll send you a sweet X-Space bookmark, and its "bookmark buddy" will live at REALM in a student's book. It’s like a friendship bookmark! Keep your place, hang it on the wall or wave it in the air like you just don’t care. Xcellent.
$49 – Adopt-a-Book
We'll put your name in a book that lives at the X-Space, and we'll send you a certificate with the book’s title and a fact (or fiction) from its pages!
$99 – Book Bag
We’ll send you a custom X-Space Baggu Bag to proudly carry your own books, tools, groceries or whatever X is to you. X can be anything!
$149 - Early Bird STAX! (Limited: 25)
We’ll send you 1 STAX unit to call your own, we’ll put your name on the STAX unit you gave our X-Space, and we’ll put your name on the library wall in our future X-Space. Get ‘em while they last!
$199 - 1 STAX (Limited: 125)
We’ll send you 1 STAX unit to call your own, we’ll put your name on the STAX unit you gave our X-Space, and we’ll put your name on the donor wall in our future X-Space.
$249 - 1 STAX in Red (Limited: 50)
We’ll send you 1 limited edition Red STAX unit to call your own, we’ll put your name on the Red STAX unit that you gave our X-Space, and we’ll put your name on the library wall in our future X-Space.
$799 - 4 Piece STAX
We’ll send you 4 STAX units in a mix of natural or red to build and rebuild them into whatever you can imagine. We’ll put your name(s) on the STAX units, and we’ll put your name on the library wall in our future X Space.
$1,599 - 8 Piece STAX
We’ll send you 8 STAX units in a mix of natural, red or any combination of those colors. Build and rebuild them into whatever you can imagine. We’ll put your name on the library wall in our future X Space, AND we’ll specially recognize you in person at the grand opening at REALM in Berkeley, CA.
$3,199 - 16 Piece STAX
We’ll send you 16 STAX units in a mix of natural, red or any combination of those colors. Build and rebuild them into whatever you can imagine. We’ll put your name at the top of the library wall in our future X Space, AND we’ll specially recognize you in person at the grand opening at REALM in Berkeley, CA.
If we reach our goal of $75,000, we’ll be able to build a full set of STAX for our library and fill them with 3000 books!!! Not only that, but we'll also be able to build tables, stools and benches. An entire X Space fit for a school.
Matching funds from the Quest Foundation
If we reach our $75,000 goal on Kickstarter, the Quest Foundation based in Danville, CA, had generously pledged an additional $30,000 in matching funds. This additional funding will go towards the purchase of 3000 more books! What this means for you: Every dollar you contribute is actually worth $1.40 if we hit our $75,000 target!
How we're going to pull this off
Over the past four years, Studio H's teachers and students have designed and built a 2000-square-foot farmers market pavilion, a pop-up park, laser-etched skateboards, sculptural concrete public furniture, roadside farmstands, and more. Our founder and Studio H instructors have architecture degrees from UC Berkeley and Harvard and years of experience building crazy projects with youth and for the community. As a group, we're crafty, stubborn, creative, and tenacious. Students have access to a full wood and metal shop, laser cutter, and digital fabrication tools to bring their ideas to life. The X-Space project will be completed over the course of the Spring school semester and summer, on the following estimated schedule:
March 2014: Space planning, prototyping of shelves and fixtures
April 2014: Begin build-out of fixtures
May 2014: Technology, lighting, table tops
June 2014: Order books
July - August 2014: Complete build-out with books
September 2014: Open library to REALM school community
The mission of REALM Charter School is to advance knowledge through rigorous studies, cultivate resiliency, develop critical thinking skills, and equip students in grades 6-12 to serve our communities and the world in the 21st century. REALM enrolls all students in a college preparatory curriculum that builds critical creativity through a love for design thinking, teaches grit to engage with immersive and interactive technologies, and connects discoveries in the classroom to action in the community.
Our 8th grade designers and builders, led by Studio H instructor Hallie Chen: Adrianna, Alan, Annika, Aram, Angel, Danna, David, Dyamonde, Diego, Farhad, Fatima, Gio, Janan, Jorge, Julian, Kaila, Katelyn, Knowledge, Leilani, Leland, Leslie, Liliana, Maria, Matthew, Miguel, Roberto, TJ, Evelyn, Alana, Agustina, Ameer, Areli, Axel, Ari, Tooty, Carlos, Damontea, Elijah, Liz, Elisabeth, Emily, German, Hector, Jose, Kaylah, Kayley, Kiriel, Luis, Miguel, Nancy, Orlando, Stephanie, Tearia, Tommy, Valerie, Ajah, Aldair, Alexis, Alondra, Daniel, Edgar, Eli, Jackie, Juanito, Junior, Kaitlyn, Ky’on, Malayah, Manik, Maria, Maribel, Melinna, Moises, Najee, Nick, Rhys, Rigo, Suzette, Taylor, Travon, Yelitza, Alexis, Alvon, Annika, Ashanti, Bryan, Chris, Darnell, Emilio, Flavio, Hector, Izzy, James, Jose, Julia, Julian, Lexee, Maia, Oscar, Sam, Sandy, Tenzin, Timmy, Yadhira, Yareli, Yazmeen, Yoav
Studio H is an in-school design/build class for 8th-11th grade students led by its director, Emily Pilloton, and 8th grade instructor Hallie Chen. First launched in Bertie County, NC and now based at REALM Charter School in Berkeley, CA, Studio H students apply their core subject learning to design and build audacious and socially transformative projects. Students of Studio H have previously dreamed up, designed, and constructed a 2,000-square-foot farmers market pavilion, a pop-up park, laser-etched skateboards, sculptural concrete public furniture, roadside farmstands, and more. Through experimentation, non-stop production, tinkering, and a lot of dirt under their fingernails, students develop the creative capital, critical thinking, and citizenship necessary for their own success and for the future of their communities. Studio H is an initiative of the nonprofit Project H Design.
Carl Bass, CEO AutoDesk
Autodesk is an American multinational software corporation that makes software for the architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing, media, and entertainment industries. CEO Carl Bass has graciously offered his insane fabrication tools and services and time to make X-Space a reality.
Risks and challenges
We've built over 40 prototypes (above) so that we not only have an idea of how long they take to make, but how much material they take to assemble. As always with fabrication, there can be unforeseen issues, but our aim is to ship out all rewards by the promised dates and to open the X-Space library by September.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
We're a young public school, in our third year. The home of our middle school is a commercial building in West Berkeley that we have worked hard to renovate, redesign, and build into a wonderful environment for learning. This past year we opened up a second and third floor, which includes our Studio H classroom, a multi-purpose room, offices, and our future library. Because we're new, we're still working to make our school the best place it can be, and the X-Space project is part of that.
Of the $75,000 budget, $30,000 will go to books, $20,000 to the STAX shelves and all other fixtures, hardware, lighting, and interior elements, $15,000 will go to technology (computer stations, tablets), and $10,000 will go towards periodicals, software, e-books, online database subscriptions, and more.
When we set out to design the library space with 108 students in 4 class periods, we decided that a beautiful, versatile building block unit would allow us the most flexibility to create many things out of one. We love the analogy of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, and that X is the unknown in algebra. (a library is a place to "find the thing you don't know"). The x-shaped building block gave us a structurally sound unit, which was simple to produce, and easy to aggregate into vertical and horizontal structures. Our students also loved that when assembled, the shelves are at a 45-degree angle, rather than strictly horizontal, like most libraries. To sift through books at a 45-degree angle, we have to engage with the books in a different way and discover things we weren't even looking for. The convex and concave curvature on the front of the STAX alternate, creating a wavelength-like facade.
We estimate that the space will require about 250-275 STAX to build all the shelves, seating elements, and table bases.
Heck yeah! Our 8th grade students are brilliant and surprise us every day. This project comes from them, their voice, their dreams. Studio H is a space that provides the tools for kids to build their most audacious ideas. Yes, we will pull this off and amaze us at every step.
Our very generous supporter and friend Carl Bass, CEO of Autodesk, has allowed us to use his CNC router at his shop, which is right down the street from our school. He and his shopmate, Betz Sweeney, have donated their time, tools, sweat, and brain cells to make hundreds of STAX.
No. Aside from the expected X-acto blade knicks, we have had no injuries in our Studio H shop.
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