Chicago architect creates 'moving classroom' to share love of design, building

ByJayme Nicholas, T.J. Whitfield Localish logo
Thursday, March 17, 2022
Chicago architect teaches youth importance of community building
Architect Maya Bird-Murphy founded Chicago Mobile Makers to create opportunities for diversity in the architecture field.

CHICAGO -- Oak Park native Maya Bird-Murphy grew up enamored by the Frank Lloyd Wright homes that surrounded her. That love translated into her study of architecture in college.

However, what she found in school, and upon graduating and entering the field, was that not many architects looked like her -- Black or women. She is now working to change that for the future for kids and teens with her nonprofit, Chicago Mobile Makers!

Started in 2017, Mobile Makers teaches kids the importance of design using unique and fun projects. But how are these Makers "Mobile"? That would be a USPS van they've completely renovated and designed to serve as a "moving classroom". With the van, Mobile Makers can pop up in neighborhoods around Chicago for youth workshops and lively summer activities. Then when the cold hits, they can return to their stationary classroom at the Kimball Arts Center.

"Were really about exposing young people to things they may have never done before and hoping that theyll decide to go into the design field in the future." said Bird-Murphy. To learn more about Chicago Mobile Makers visit their website at