Today’s Punahou students will graduate having had access to some of the most sophisticated engineering technology available, thanks in large part to the D. Kenneth Richardson ’48 Learning Lab in the Mamiya Science Center which opened with the start of spring semester.
The design and fabrication makerspace has the type of high-tech equipment one would find in a professional production workshop. The equipment enables students to create rapid prototypes of their designs, bringing ideas to life as part of the design thinking process.
In 2014, planning began for a redesign of the interior of the Gates Family Science Workshop to create an innovative engineering and design facility, thanks to a gift from former Hughes Aircraft president Ken Richardson ’48. Over his 40-year career, Richardson rose from radar design engineer to president and chief operating officer at Hughes Aircraft Company.
In the lab, students will be able to cut through heavy metal and plastic materials with water jet and laser cutters, reshape wood with computer numeric controlled machines, build objects using 3-D printers and much more.
The D. Kenneth Richardson ’48 Learning Lab gives students a space to “realize and iterate on an idea,” said engineering faculty and co-director of the Design Thinking, Technology and Fabrication department Aaron Dengler, “making it more precise and refined – just as they would with an English essay – creating drafts and applying what they learn to future products.”