Design Studies Student Mercedes Johnson Is Building Her Future at the BAC

Mercedes Johnson likes building things with her hands. Through her classes at The Boston Architectural College (BAC) as a bachelor of design studies student, Mercedes discovered her true passion: digital fabrication and model making. Now in her final year at the BAC, Mercedes is looking ahead and designing her future.

Growing up in Detroit, MI, Mercedes always wanted to go to architecture school. But when it came time to apply to colleges, she stuck with her strong subjects, math and science, and applied to a neuroscience/pre-med program at New York University (NYU). She quickly discovered this was not for her. She looked into design schools and found the BAC through online searches. She was immediately drawn to the practice-based method of learning, where students work in the design field while taking classes. It's a rigorous model, but Mercedes was excited by the opportunity to immediately apply what she would be learning in the classroom to real work.

Mercedes describes her BAC experience as both challenging and rewarding. Initially enrolled in the Interior Architecture program, Mercedes realized she was more interested in her elective courses that focused on digital design and model making. She was really inspired by her instructors in these courses who helped her realize her passion was in design studies and digital design, so in May 2016, Mercedes switched to the BAC's Design Studies program.

Soon after joining the School of Design Studies, Mercedes got her first job opportunity to utilize her digital design and model making skills. George Ducharme, a Berklee College of Music employee, was looking for someone to create a replica of the Gambrill House in Frederick, Maryland. To create the beautiful Victorian mansion, Mercedes utilized 3D printing and laser cutting to create a 2'L x 1.5'W x 1.5'H replica made of chipboard wood, wood, presentation board, and acrylic. Once the model was built, Mercedes then painted the house to match the real Gambrill House, down to the weathered look of the paint. See photos of Mercedes's Gambrill House model below.

When the Gambrill House model was finished, George was thrilled, saying it was so much more than what he expected. Mercedes was really pleased with her finished project, too. A Victorian house has many small, intricate details, making it a challenging project, but one that is really satisfying to complete.

Mercedes is excited about her future. She was recently accepted to Savannah College of Art and Design for their MFA program in Industrial Design. After finishing school, Mercedes would like to design furniture, and possibly do product design. Whatever she chooses to do, Mercedes has already started to build a bright future for herself.

Gambrill House model by BAC student Mercedes Johnson

Gambrill House model by BAC student Mercedes Johnson

Gambrill House model by BAC student Mercedes Johnson

Gambrill House model by BAC student Mercedes Johnson

Gambrill House model by BAC student Mercedes Johnson

Gambrill House model by BAC student Mercedes Johnson

Gambrill House model by BAC student Mercedes Johnson

Gambrill House model by BAC student Mercedes Johnson