Center for Design

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Center for Design

The Place of Design
Lemelson Map.jpg
M 11:00 A.M. - 6:30 P.M.
T 1:30 P.M. - 10:00 P.M.
W 10:00 A.M. - 10:00 P.M.
TH 1:30 P.M. - 10:00 P.M.
F 10:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.
Weekends: S 12:00 P.M. - 4:00 P.M.
Phone Number: 413.559.5869
Building Information
Year of Construction:
Floor Count:

The Center for Design (C4D) intertwines technology and liberal arts education through the use of applied design problem solving. By spurring students’ innovative imaginations, the center envisions ushering in a new era of equitable and compassionate enterprise fostered by the creative application of technology and the entrepreneurial spirit of invention. 

The C4D offers a unique laboratory for the exploration of design and fabrication. This facility is open to all Hampshire College students, and promotes a shop equipped for work with metal and plastics as well as an electronics lab, design equipment for manual and computer-aided drafting and modeling, coal and gas fired blacksmith forges and sewing equipment for soft goods fabrication.  The fabrication shop is supervised by full-time staff who provide one-on-one design and fabrication instruction as well as conducting group workshops and trainings. The facility may be used for both academic and personal projects. 

The C4D is located at the north end of the Longsworth Arts Village and can be reached by phone at x5869.



Applied design is a broad-based holistic approach to the design of functional objects. It draws on the basic principles of industrial and mechanical design; adaptive and appropriate technology; and sculpture. It utilizes prototype development and craft-making practices while considering the aesthetic aspects of design. The affiliated academic program, now a part of Hampshire's School for Interdisciplinary Arts, grew out of the original Lemelson Program, which provides a framework for nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit and penchant for innovation that exists at Hampshire College.

Design Facilities

Lemelson OpenHouse.JPG
The C4D fabrication shop is supervised by two full-time staff members and is open M - F, including three evenings. Whether you have a specific project in mind, or would like to simply learn how to use some equipment, we are available to help. We will work with you on design issues, teach you how to work safely in the shop, give instruction on the equipment you need to use, and provide on-going assistance and supervision.  The design lab is available to all students for design-related work and is open any time that the facility is open. It contains computer workstations running a number of 2D and 3D drawing and modeling programs, as well as manual drafting equipment.

Introductory safety trainings and other training and information sessions covering a range of fabrication and design areas are conducted each semester and during January Term. However, gaining access to the facility can be as simple as setting us an appointment with one of the shop supervisors. A schedule of trainings is published at the beginning of each semester and January Term.

Major Facility Capabilities

Computer Aided Design (CAD) Electronics
Machining Plastic thermoforming
Welding Blacksmithing
Sewing and industrial sewing Glass work
Sheet metal work Plasma cutting
Wrought iron work General mechanics

Human Resources


Weekly Hampshire Design Conspiracy meetings
Thursdays 6:00
The Hampshire Design Conspiracy is an informal weekly gathering for those with interests in design. The primary goal of the gathering is to provide a forum where students can get ideas, feedback, support, and inspiration from their peers. Any design idea or project is welcome for discussion. Attend as frequently or sporadically as you wish. It's not necessary for you to have a project or even have any experience in design, interest is the only prerequisite. On occasion there are special topic evenings or guest speakers as well.

PIZZA is provided courtesy of student groups supported by the Center for Design. 

Funding for Students and Alumni

The C4D offers several opportunities for Hampshire and Five College students and alums to receive funding for their projects and pursuits:

The Timothy Harkness Fund for Invention offers grants to Hampshire and Five College students and alums for innovative work in the areas of sustainability and renewable energy.

The Center for Design Student Project Fund awards funds for student work that is based in the C4D and utilizes its resources and materials.

The Social Venture Fund and Advisory Networkaims to provide financial assistance as well as mentorship and networking guidance to Hampshire College students interested in starting social enterprises.

Example Projects

Facilitated Student Groups

Affiliated Courses

Sample Course Offerings

A number of courses use the C4D facility. Here are some examples of courses that are taught primarily in the C4D.

Design Fundamentals: This is an introductory level design class that will begin with a series of guided activities and culminate in a final independent project. Students will become familiar with a range of basic design tools and skills, such as drawing, model-making, and prototyping in materials such as cardboard, metal and plastic. We will also consider aesthetics, manufacturability, and usability of the objects we create. Throughout the course students will work towards improving visual communication skills and the ability to convey ideas.

Electronics and Assistive Technology: This course will familiarize the student with some of the basic techniques of electronic design and fabrication by exploring how those techniques can be used to create assistive devices. The course will focus on developing these techniques by working on a number of projects inspired by outside partner groups and individuals. Students are encouraged to build on pre-existing devices as well as design solutions from scratch. This will be a project-based course; the majority of class time will be spent experimenting and building. Prior experience with electronics is not required, but the student should be comfortable using basic hand tools. Each student will be supplied with a course kit which will include all the necessary tools as well as a variety of common and useful electrical components.

Appropriate Technology in the World: This course will look at the issues involved with design and fabrication in situations where there are limited resources. Students will engage in the hands-on study and design of technologies considered appropriate for less developed and small-scale local economies. Topics will include water quality; human-powered cargo transportation; energy production; food storage and preparation; and wheelchair technologies. We will consider factors that make for successful adoption and widespread use of appropriate technologies.

Women's Design and Fabrication: This course will introduce students through experiential means to the basic fabrication process available in the Lemelson Center. Students will work on a variety of hands-on projects, gaining experience with as many different fabrication skills as time allows. In addition, we will cover basic elements of design and project planning; how built objects relate to the artificial and natural environment; and consider the broader impact design has on society. Upon completion of the course, participants will have start-to-finish experience with several projects, a working knowledge of several types of fabrication processes, and will be expected to have the foundational skills and knowledge in design and fabrication necessary to complete more advanced design and art projects.

Other recently offered courses and workshops include:

Animals, Robots, and Applied Design Introduction to C.A.D. (Computer-Aided Design)
Appropriate Technology in the World Look Ma, No Hands
Bicycle Ambulance Building Workshop Model Making
Bicycle Design and Beyond Social Entrepreneurship: Starting Your Own Socially Responsible Enterprise
Design Fundamentals Technosalvation
Electronics and Assistive Technology The Business of Change: Social Action Through Entrepreneurship
Fabrication Shop Trainings

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