BOONE, N.C. — Students enrolled in the Integrative Design Experience Laboratory (IDEXlab) at Appalachian State University have completed the mobiLANDING, a sheltered workspace located at the university’s Small Wind Research and Demonstration Site on Beech Mountain.
The mobiLANDING is a docking station for the MOBILab, the university’s energy-independent mobile classroom built in 2015. mobiLANDING provides a storage facility and covered space for workshops and trainings hosted at the Small Wind Research and Demonstration Site. The structure consists of a concrete foundation, locally sourced lumber for the decking and trusses, corrugated metal roofing and bifacial solar panels. The solar panels power the lighting for the structure and tie back into the electrical grid.
A small team of graduate students began the project in 2017 under the guidance of Jason Miller, associate professor in Appalachian’s Department of Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment. The project culminated with the mobiLANDING’s grand opening on April 27.
During spring 2018, 15 undergraduate students, along with three graduate students, took the concept designed in 2017 and built the physical structure. Led by Miller, along with practitioner-in-residence Chelsea Helms and associate professor Dr. Jamie Russell, both faculty in the Department of Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment, the group met their goal of establishing an interactive learning community that showcases sustainable building practices and facilitates research.
According to Helms, the mobiLANDING project provided unparalleled experiential learning. She estimates the students spent approximately 3,500 hours building the structure, often in extreme weather.
“In this particular experience, the students rose to a new level of passion and dedication, overcoming some of the harshest weather conditions in IDEXlab project history,” she said. “These students are what make these projects reality, and they have, yet again, transformed a design idea into a product that will impact the community by providing a learning platform for wind research and education.”
IDEXlab project manager Christian Najafi, a senior from Hendersonville majoring in building sciences, is grateful for both the leadership experience and the hands-on nature of the work.
“Being a team leader has given me great experience that I will be able to apply in the workforce,” he shared. “The most valuable thing I learned is that with good leadership, even seemingly impossible tasks can be completed. If something doesn’t work out the first time, then come up with another solution. Don’t give up too quickly.”
About the Department of Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment
One of seven departments housed in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, the Department of Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment at Appalachian State University features an integrated array of programs spanning the fields of sustainable design and technology. Its mission is to foster a strong and vibrant culture of inquiry, discovery and innovation that integrates theory with application, problem seeking with problem-solving, local issues with global perspectives and technological progress with environmental stewardship. It offers bachelor’s degrees in sustainable technology and building science, and a master’s degree in technology. Learn more at https://stbe.appstate.edu.
About the College of Fine and Applied Arts
Appalachian State University’s College of Fine and Applied Arts is a dynamic and innovative group of seven academic departments, bringing together a variety of perspectives, experiences and real-world education to provide unique opportunities for student success. The college has more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate majors. Its departments are Applied Design, Art, Communication, Military Science and Leadership, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment, and Theatre and Dance. Learn more at https://faa.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.