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Making at GSAPP

Please read the COVID-19 Shop Guidelines implemented for the Fall 2020 semester.

GSAPP has long stood at the forefront of changes in design technologies and contemporary culture. Today, computer-generated designs and models are giving way to a mode of working that blends the digital with more material and representational practices. A culture of making—whether a drawing, a book, a physical model, or a set of tools—is imperative to individual expression and creativity as well as to critical thinking and assembling.

The newly remodeled fabrication shops at GSAPP, known collectively as the Making Studio, combine a range of workshops and project spaces for fabrication, 3D printing, robotics and multi-modal making, rapid prototyping, digital cutting and tooling, alongside a space for large-scale mockups and experimentation. Cross-program workshops and 24-hour access enable students to explore, stage, tinker, reuse, and adapt.

The Making Studio provides material, technical, and design support for all modeling, building, and making endeavors of GSAPP students. Its mission is to provide a continuum of support for physical experimentation and production, from heavy duty sheet goods to precision work on fine models.

Students of GSAPP have access to the workshops after the completion of a University-level online training quiz, and an in-shop orientation to policy and safety procedures. Please contact Josh Jordan with any questions or comments.


Recent Projects

Never Built New York

Launched in Summer 2017 and opened at the Queens Museum in New York City that same September, Never Built New York is a collaborative exhibition curated by authors Sam Lubell and Greg Goldin and produced in part by the GSAPP Fabrication Lab.

Students working with the Fab Lab explored a trove of archival drawings and models of designed-but-never-built projects in the history of NYC, an unrealized but fascinating series of architectural dreams. The project was threefold: 1) forensic reconstruction of digital models from historic drawings, often sketches with minimal information, 2) fabrication of 1:1200 scale models of over 200 buildings and architectural components, 3) installation and activation of the models in the New York City Panorama, a scale model of the entire five boroughs of New York at the Queens Museum.

The Fab Lab’s contributions were featured in the New York Times, Wall St. Journal, and other publications. Students were given the wonderful privilege of walking on the Panorama model, fulfilling many urban planning dreams.

Chicago Biennial “(Not) Another Tower” Exquisite Model Corpse

The Making at GSAPP crew and collaborators are no strangers to frantic, super-dense urban conditions. We have no choice but to collaborate with our colleagues on whom we are, often literally, vertically stacked. Our entries for “(Not) Another Tower” pay tribute to these delirious delights of New York City: where extremely diverse scenes and programs are allowed to coexist shoulder-to-shoulder, where epic monuments and industries become background scenery for the normal everyday hustle, where bleeding-edge innovation is so saturated as to be taken for granted.

In Summer of 2017, Tatiana Bilbao Estudio (TBS) invited dozens of GSAPP students to collaborate on this headlining installation at the Chicago Architecture Biennial. With the coordination and direction of the Fabrication Lab, students submitted models to fill almost 40 slots in the composite tower. Our team packed everything in a U-Haul and drove to Chicago to assist with the assembly of the tower.

Making Studio : Shops

Open hours are offered for students who have completed the required safety certification. When the shop is open, two monitors will be present to provide supervision and hands on instruction. Students must bring their Columbia ID with a Safety Sticker to enter the shop.

Open Hours Schedule

Day Open Time
Monday 10AM-8PM
Tuesday 10AM-8PM
Wednesday 10AM-8PM
Thursday 10AM-8PM
Friday 10AM-8PM
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed

Find Schermerhorn at campus level (to the North of Avery Hall), follow winding hall to the right into Schermerhorn extension, take elevator to floor (1).


Enter at facilities/auto entry at 119+Amsterdam, enter ground-level door.

Making at gsapp map
Material choice is an integral part of the design process that should be considered carefully before fabrication begins. The CNC routers in the shop have the capability to mill a wide variety of materials (with the exception of rubber, glass, and ferrous metals). Common materials to mill include wood and foam, but experimentation is encouraged. Below is a list of places to obtain material. For more information, take advantage of Columbia GSAPP’s access to Material Connexion.

Material Connexion is a library of materials open to all Columbia GSAPP students. Their materials database has recently been updated and can be accessed. No login is required.

Anyone on the school’s network can access the database by going directly to the login page using the link above. Students and faculty can access the Materials Database remotely (off campus) by creating a free Personal Account. A Personal Account can also be used on campus and offers certain benefits and advanced features, such as saving and tagging materials. A valid school email address must be used as a username.


Carries a wide array of tools, supplies, and raw materials. Generally, a great resource for anything from Pet G to office supplies. Usually delivers within two days.
*note: most end mills can be found on McMaster Carr here
*see the Hardware section for more information on end mills

Canal Plastics Center
345 Canal Street
New York, NY 10013
(212) 925-1666
For your plastic needs. Relatively inexpensive acrylic, styrene, etc.

T&T Plastic Land Inc.
315 Church Street
New York, NY 10013
(212) 925-6376
Another great resource for various plastics.

Walker Supply
61 Walker St
New York, NY 10013-3513
(212) 226-5554
A general use hardware store with a wide supply of insulation foam. Call ahead of time to confirm they have the desired size.

Metropolitan Lumber
617 11th Ave
New York , NY 10036
Phone: 212-246-9090

AJO Home & Lumber Depot
610 Columbus Avenue
New York, NY 10024
(212) 580-8080


Only Columbia GSAPP coursework may be done in the Making Studio.

In order to have access to the CNC equipment students must complete an online PDF walkthrough, and bring the product of that exercise to the shop for an in-person walkthrough of driving the machine. The tutorial session will include detailed information about the CNC software and hardware, and the assignment will require students to apply their new fabrication knowledge. You must show proficient knowledge in the operation of this equipment before being given full access.

Safety Orientation

Please note that new training is required for any student, new or continuing, who is planning to use the shop during Fall 2020 semester.

Orientation is provided in the form of a short online video available here on the GSAPP YouTube Channel. After watching the video, please take the online Rascal Training Quiz and submit a response to the Shop Orientation Contract to confirm your acknowledgement of COVID-19 Shop Guidelines for the Fall 2020 semester.

Before attending the shop, GSAPP students are required to watch the orientation video, complete the Rascal Training Quiz, and submit a response to the Shop Orientation Contract.

Online Training Course
  1. Select “Safety Courses”
  2. Select “TC0600 - Shop Safety Training”
  3. Select “Take Course”. It will pop-up in a new window. Then return to the course overview
  4. Select “Take Test”
  5. Print the certificate. Please retake if you receive less than 90%.
CNC clearance

The CNC routers require the completion of an intro tutorial. The link can be found in the [details] button or by clicking on the “Intro Walkthrough” cover page below.

  1. Download and follow the intro tutorial, creating your own RhinoCAM file.

  2. Bring that file to the Fab Lab and ask a monitor to assist you in running the mill.

  3. Upon successful cutting of the intro tutorial file, you are given a CNC STICKER.

  4. You may now book time on the CNCs.

  5. Follow the “Starting 3D” tutorial to learn full three-dimensional file setup

  6. Bring your completed RhinoCAM files to a lab monitor for review.

  7. Upon approval, book time on the available CNC router.

CNC use policy
  1. Slots are booked only by shop monitors, on behalf of students, after file review.

  2. A student may book up to four hours consecutively.

  3. During heavy use periods, students may be limited to booking at most two of these four-hour appointments per week, booked on non-consecutive days.

  4. A booked student will abandon his/her/their appointment if arriving +15 mins late.

  5. Stand-by use of the machine is on a day-to-day basis. Students with completed files will be made aware of empty or open slots by the monitors at the time of file review. Do not rely on stand-by use of the machine.

  6. Always allow a monitor to “press Go” or start your file.

Things to consider:

Your file review needs to take place in person in the shop. This meeting will serve as a check that your files are ready and a quick design review for best use of the machine.

Plan ahead! It will often be difficult to book less than a whole day in advance. Get your files right the first time, and book well ahead!


To book time on the lasers, check the sign-up sheet!


You MUST be certified (attend an orientation) to book time!


*to book time on the CNC, bring your COMPLETE RhinoCAM files to the Fab Lab


The shop has several 3-axis CNC routers and a CNC plasma cutter. In order to use this equipment, students must attend a CNC Tutorial and complete a short assignment. Students who complete these steps will be added to the list of approved CNC equipment users.

CNC tutorial times are listed on the shop schedule. They tend to take about an hour, and the assignment also takes about an hour, but can be done anytime after the tutorial. View the updated CNC Machinery Policy

Once a student is CNC certified, they can sign up for time on the CNC equipment. To sign up, complete your tool paths and bring the file to the shop during open hours. A monitor will then check for accuracy and preprocess the file to determine the run time. Once completed, the monitor can then add you to the CNC Machine Schedule.

Output Shop / OPS

The Output Shop (OPS) is a full service print facility serving GSAPP students. Services provided include plotting large drawings with four design-jet plotters.

Please see the Output Shop page for hours and services.