Q&A: Architecture professor, students discuss ongoing projects involving COVID-19


Peter Loganbill, Collegian news editor: “You were talking about how you think the movement of people is going to be one of the biggest issues we face, or are facing. How does this idea with the plastic structures and the idea with the plant structures pertain to that?”

Jonathan Dessi-Olive, assistant professor of architecture: “In addition to climate change, I think people moving around the planet for one reason or another is really going to be a problem that we’re facing. I saw the other day around 11 million people just fled Wuhan, [China,] the source of the Coronavirus.

“So you see, 11 million people are going somewhere. So somehow we need to look at the built environment and to ask new questions about how the way we build actually lines up with the way people are living, right now.

“The truth is that, we’ve been building in a way that is very ancient, in that we assume that our buildings are going to last for a very, very long time. But in this scenario, where people are going to be moving around more quickly, several times and across great distances in a single person’s life, whereas it used to be kind of a generational thing. My grandparents were immigrants, my mother was an immigrant. I’m the first one who’s going to stay here, at least I think so.”

Loganbill: “I was talking to Jonathan about this PPE project you guys are working on. Can you guys talk about how you got involved in it and what exactly your part is in it?”

Matthew Cox, junior in architecture: “JDO, or Jonathan Dessi-Olive, reached out to us over social media to do social distancing and showed us that there was kind of a movement in the architectural world, whether it be education or the professional world to basically, if you have a 3D printer, to print these, any protection that we could do.

“What we found was there was an open source file of the headbands as a face shield, and those take about two hours to print. So, we ended up kind of getting all the supplies together, all the 3D printers out of school and printing those from our houses.”

DJ Plankinton, junior in architecture: “Actually, I think it was only a day after we found out about this, we were in a call in the morning with the Dean trying to get the printers out.”

Loganbill: “How do you make them? What do they look like?”

Plankinton: “We’re printing the band kind of piece, and the front face shield is a piece of clear acetate, that we’re hole-punching and then clipping on.”

Loganbill: “Are you guys, just going to keep going with this as long as you can or as long as you need to?”

Cox: “Definitely. As long as there’s a need, we’ll provide as much support as we can. We can only do so much from our own homes, but what we can do is use our 3D printers and our tools that the school has generously allowed us to use.”

I'm Pete Loganbill and I'm the News Editor for the Collegian and host of the Collegian Kultivate podcast! I spent two years at Johnson County Community College, and I am now a senior in Public Relations at K-State. I believe constant communication leads to progress, no matter how difficult a comment may be for me or anyone to hear. Contact me at ploganbill@kstatecollegian.com.