Exhibit features student-made wooden furniture

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The Materials Lab showcased finished furniture pieces created by students in Mark Macek’s wood design class.
Photo Credit: Griffin Smith | Daily Texan Staff

Students from the architecture school showcased their furniture pieces at an exhibition Thursday.

Specialist Mark Macek taught six architecture students, many of whom had no prior experience with woodcrafting, in his wood design class. They learned about several species of wood, studied furniture design history and visited local craftsmen.

“What’s unique about furniture is that humans use and interact with it,” Macek said. “Students have to be very tactile.”

Architecture graduate student Grace Dixon said the course helped her learn basic woodcrafting skills and apply her knowledge to construct something practical.

“I didn’t even know how to operate power tools before the course, but Mr. Macek guided us along the way,” Dixon said. 

Although the students plan to pursue various careers in architecture and design outside of woodworking, Macek said they learned valuable skills that will help them in their respective fields.

“They share a common objective, which is to learn how to build,” Macek said. “Designers need to understand the process of making their designs. The only way to truly do this is by physically using the tools and materials.”

Architecture graduate student Jordan Teitelbaum said learning about the steps that go into making a furniture piece will help him apply similar skills to architectural design. 

“As a designer, understanding the process of building will allow me to design in a much more intelligent way,” Teitelbaum said. 

Macek gave students six weeks to work on their projects. Teitelbaum said he and other students worked about 100 hours outside of class in the woodshop — four to eight hours a day — to complete their pieces. 

The exhibition took place in the University Co-op Materials Lab, which features a library of over 27,000 materials, including translucent concrete and aerogel — the lightest material on Earth. 

Architecture senior Claire Fontaine works in the lab and encourages students to take advantage of all the resources it offers. 

“The Material Lab is a hidden gem on campus,” Fontaine said. “It is an amazing resource and reference for all UT students, professors and even professionals around the area.”