Skip to main content

Blinn-Bryan's cutting-edge architecture fabrication lab inspires hands-on learning

'This program has taught me more than I ever thought I would learn,' said sophomore Hunter Jenkins

'This program has taught me more than I ever thought I would learn,' said sophomore Hunter Jenkins

October 19, 2023

Sophomore Hunter Jenkins has a new favorite spot on the Blinn College-Bryan Campus.

Whenever he has a free moment, he takes the stairs to the second floor of the Student Center and visits the architecture studio and adjoining fabrication lab, where he and his classmates utilize state-of-the-art 3D printers and laser cutters to build his architectural design skills.

“This program has taught me more than I even thought I would learn in the short amount of time I have been here,” said Jenkins, who is pursuing his Associate of Arts in Architecture with an eye toward transferring to Texas A&M University to pursue his bachelor’s degree.

In the studio, students utilize premiere architectural design software such as AutoCAD, SketchUp, Lumion, and Revit to craft intricate plans, elevations, sections, and build details. However, what sets Blinn apart is its forward-looking approach – students can seamlessly transition to the adjacent fabrication lab that opened this fall to transform their ideas into tangible 3D models, allowing them to envision their projects in a whole new dimension.

Cutting-Edge Technology

With the Makerbox Method X 3D printer, students can print manufacturing tools and production parts to specifications with genuine manufacturing-grade materials, including metals, composites, and polymers, giving Blinn students industrial-power production capabilities. Universal Laser VLS 3.60 and Trotec Speedy 300 laser cutters align with industry standards, offering students the opportunity to cut a wide range of materials precisely, including wood, glass, foam core, and plastic.

Craig Jeffrey, Architecture Professor and Assistant Dean for the Division of Arts, Kinesiology, and Agriculture, said the equipment provides students hands-on experience using the same tools they will use in the industry.

“I never want a student to move on to a four-year school and say, ‘I wish I would have learned that at Blinn,’” Jeffrey said. “I want them to know when they transfer, or if they go directly into industry, that they can start turning heads wherever they are at, whether they’re going to Texas A&M, the University of Texas, UT-Arlington, or anywhere else. We can push them and give them a stable foundation so that they can become licensed architects or even contractors.”

A Gateway to Success

For Jenkins, Blinn marked his introduction to architectural design and graphics, and the ability to print 3D models provides him a valuable perspective on the early drafts of his designs.

“It’s fun because it lets you take what you create online and make a physical copy of it,” he said. “Initially it was a little frustrating for the first few days, just because I wasn’t used to any of these programs to any degree, but they’re very easy to understand if you take the time. They’re wonderful programs and they do all sorts of things.”

Blinn offers a 60-credit-hour Associate of Arts in Architecture designed to match the courses students would take during their first two years at a four-year university and a 60-credit-hour Associate of Arts Field of Study degree designed for immediate entry into the workforce. Both degrees are offered on the Bryan Campus.

Once students earn their degree, they are qualified for positions with architecture firms and can play roles in land and project development, technical sales jobs, and positions with government agencies or financial institutions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, architects earned a median salary of $82,840 per year in 2022.

For students like Jenkins, the Architecture Program and its fabrication lab have created new opportunities to showcase their creativity and ignited a passion for architectural design.

“I even spend most of my free time up here hanging out with Craig Jeffrey because he is by far one of the best professors I have ever had,” Jenkins said. “He teaches you everything you need to know and more. He doesn’t just give you the answer, he gives you the answer with a real-world situation.”

For more information about Blinn’s Architecture Program, visit


Enjoy this article? Share it with one click!






Get Connected