Better Block CNC Pop-Up Shops

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STUDIO CREATING Digitally fabricated pop-up shops!

Studio Brief:

This is a graduate design studio, where 10 students will be designing and building a series of small scale kiosks for six local businesses (bakery, coffee shop, kayak rental, etc.) for the Better Block Cuyahoga Falls event on August 26th & 27, 2016. The projects will be installed on the pedestrian mall along Front Street in downtown Cuyahoga Falls.  The students will not only design a custom structure and interior for each business, but also the necessary furniture (such as seating, tables, and storage). 

Studio Background:

The studio is inspired by the Wikihouse project, which is an open source kit for constructing housing units out of pieces of plywood that are CNC routed. However, rather than designing and fabricating homes, the studio is focused on small-scale, urban interventions (parklets, kiosks, etc.) for community based design, titled Wiki-Blocks.  The Wiki-Block concept was developed by the Better Block Foundation, based in Dallas, and is intended to create an online “wiki-block” library for designers to upload their design into a public repository for place-makers to utilize all over the world.  

Fabrication + Assembly:

All of the designs will be constructed out of pieces of 3/4" thick plywood that are digitally fabricated using a CNC router. These pieces will utilize snap-fit connections and puzzle piece joints to allow for quick and easy assembly on site by local community members.  The students will develop step-by-step assembly guides for each design element. 

Studio Process:

The semester began by collectively researching the history and theory behind these techniques and approaches, with topics such as digital fabrication, parametric design, pre-fabricated housing, CNC joinery, and wood construction. This research led into a programming analysis, as well as project concept, and ultimately the design of individual projects. 



The first video shows a time lapse of the students assembling the prototype chassis that will be used for each kiosk. The second video shows a time lapse of the fabrication process where 4'-0" x 8'-0" sheets are being CNC routed into smaller pieces that will later be assembled into furniture. 

If you are interested in attending the event, you can find more information at the Better Blocks Cuyahoga Falls website, or if you are interested in volunteering to help assemble and construct the kiosks on-site, you can contact Assistant Professor Brian Peters (

While you're checking out the Falls Better Block, stop by the Crooked River Commute as our faculty & students are putting in their kayaks that Saturday on their way to Cleveland!