Anderson Ranch Fab Lab


Project Summary

Anderson Ranch Fab Lab


Commercial – Specialty


Snowmass, Colorado


853 SF

Interior Space Planning


Over its 54-year history, Anderson Ranch Arts Center has had a history of embracing innovative new technologies and incorporating them into the arts curriculum offered on their Snowmass, Colorado campus. In 2020, through the gift of an anonymous donor, R+B was hired to expand and upgrade the Ranch’s Digital Fabrication Lab (Fab Lab) to keep pace with emerging digital fabrication technologies and support artistic innovation across various disciplines.


Relocating the Fab Lab into a larger studio space within the centrally located Maloof Barn allows greater access to and visibility of the lab’s equipment. Retrofitting the space for improved infrastructure and ventilation supports investment in the technologies needed to stay on the forefront of innovation in the arts. The central location on campus is meant to allow all mediums to incorporate digital fabrication into their education and art making.


The Fab Lab studio allows for the expansion of available digital fabrication equipment, including vacuum formers, UV printers, multiple 3D printers, and a 3-axis and 4-axis CNC machine, to students across the campus. Workstations for studio sizes of approximately ten students will provide the much-needed capacity for increasing demand. Isolating the CNC machines provides for a clean and acoustically isolated space for operation while classes are in progress or other equipment is being used.


Integrating innovative technologies into a creative campus with historic log buildings meant embracing the tradition of experimentation at the core of the maker-ethos of Anderson Ranch. The work surfaces and tables are made by Brad Reed Nelson, a long-time wood shop faculty member. An installation by Brad Miller, prior Executive Director of the Ranch, will integrate art into the studio. An outdoor sculpture by internationally recognized James Surls marks the entrance to the Fab Lab on the campus.


Formerly the Turning Studio, the new Fab Lab studio features a light-filled space with vaulted ceilings and an existing covered deck.

The deck is a communal area where fellow students and artists may gather and visit. Two existing glass garage doors open into the studio, allowing for indoor-outdoor workspace for students and creating a welcoming environment to observe the digital fabrication equipment in action.


The Fab Lab studio is long and narrow, which provides an opportunity to separate the fabrication equipment space from student workstations and position the studio’s faculty member in the center. This configuration allows the faculty member to easily initiate fabrications on any number of the machines while remaining easily accessible to students working in software at the workstations. At the end of the space, the 4-axis CNC machine is built into an acoustically controlled environment, with removable walls for easy future access.

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