Week Five – A Race to the Reveal

With only a few days left to finish the room, students worked extremely hard to install the furniture they had built. Students added a ceiling fan to improve the circulation in the room, and color changing LED light to make everything bright and fun!

The room was finished just in time to welcome members of the community to celebrate the reveal of the new space. Students spoke passionately about what they had learned over the course of the program and the decisions they made that led them to their final design. Everyone in attendance was awed by the quality and amount of work the DYN teens had accomplished in five short weeks. Other teens at the celebration couldn’t wait to start using the room to hangout and record music!

While admiring their handy work, the DYN teens turned around to look at the larger space. One said, “We’ll have to do this room next!” Everyone immediately agreed.



Week Four: The Build Begins

With a design finalized and all of DYH itching to get building, Sawhorse Revolution returned to help us begin construction! Students worked to create a series of folding top desks that could be stored flat against the walls, opening up the space when not in use. They also worked to add wheels to a couch so that it could be moved around easily to watch TV or play games. Other teams worked to paint the room and install acoustic foam squares on the walls.

Students designed a logo to represent the Rainier Vista community and placed it prominently on the focal wall of the room. Inspired by their trip to Olson Kundig, the teens decided to make one of the walls a cork wall that could be used as a bulletin board. Another wall was treated with whiteboard paint that they would be able to write on it and share important information.



Week Three – Architectural Inspiration

DYN was joined by architects Jesse Kinsley and Christian Poules from the architecture firm Olson Kundig. They talked with the group about working as architects and their career journeys. Jesse and Christian explored the space with the teens, encouraging everyone to think about creating a sound-proofed space with lots of movable furniture. The teens worked to finalize a layout of the room that made space for all of the varied uses of the room.

Later in the week, DYN visited the offices of Olson Kundig. Jesse and Christian led DYN on a tour of their workspace. The teens were inspired by the transformable furniture in the office, as well as many of the sound absorbing materials that were used to dampen sound in meeting rooms. The group loved seeing the architectural models displayed around the office! Students also got the chance to explore a 3D-model using a virtual reality headset. Everyone had a blast using VR to see what it would be like to walk around in an Olson Kundig designed house!




Week Two: A Colorful Start

Week two started with a return to the egg drop. Armed with knowledge from the previous try, the teens learned to adapt their design to create containers for their eggs that successfully kept them from cracking.

The group learned color theory and the various ways designers use color in design. The teens discussed how color can change the way one feels in a space. They created mood boards to show what colors and furniture they wanted in the room. The teens also began to experiment with scale, creating a half-size ground plan of the room. They then measured various furniture and drew it to scale. With their new furniture, they could experiment with different layouts in the room and better see what would fit.


Over the weekend, DYH joined Sawhorse Revolution for a build day. The DHY teens learned to use various power tools and building materials. In the process, they helped to assemble tiny houses for those experiencing homelessness in Seattle. Student Ambassadors from Sawhorse Revolution taught their DYH peers how to interpret architectural plans and safely use tools. It was a rewarding and fun day for DYH!


Week One: Design Fundamentals

This session of Design Your [Neighbor]Hood (DYH) hosted ten teenagers from the Rainier Vista community. Located at the north end of the Rainier Valley, Rainier Vista is home to a diverse and vibrant population. While the area has much to offer youth already, the DYH teens felt the area lacked an indoor space for teenagers to hang-out and work. The DYH participants were excited to create a computer and sound recording lab where they could record music, apply for jobs, and do homework.

Week one began with Teaching Artist Chris Landingin welcoming students with an exciting week of design fundamentals. The teens were introduced to the idea of designing within specifications with an egg drop challenge. Everyone enjoyed finding ways to protect their eggs using only straws and tape. The eggs however, did not enjoy the activity. They all cracked!

The teens then took a tour of the space they would be re-designing. They discussed which elements of the space they liked and disliked. After, the group discussed what they’d use the space for and looked over a layout drafted by their community. The room needed to be home to a computer lab, recording booth, office, and space to relax. While taking measurements of the room, the teens quickly learned that it would be a challenge to fit everything in!

The students closed out the week with a tour of the Bullitt Center, where they learned about energy efficient architecture. The students appreciated the importance of green design, but admitted that some of the measures would be harder to get used to, the composting toilets in particular!



Final Designs

As Design Your Hood comes to an end, we’re getting ready to present our final design for the computer lab. Our design teams have been working on putting together proposals to present to members of the Yesler Terrace community, Seattle Art Museum staff, and representatives from Seattle Parks and Recreation. Before we presented our final ideas, here’s a behind the scenes look at how we prepared for our presentation!IMG_0036

Our model making team worked together to build a scale model of the computer lab using foam board, balsa wood, and cork. To create a rough draft before moving on to the final model, the group used Lego bricks to try out building a model of the space and then used it as a reference for building the final model of the computer lab.

The model also used input from the furniture and layout teams, who had decided on how to arrange the tables, desks, and chairs in the new computer lab space. Miniature versions of laptops also made their way into the model, which was an idea from the technology team, which wants to upgrade all of the computers to Mac computers and purchase some laptops to be rented out and used in the computer lab as well.


All of the teens also prepared some talking points for the presentation to explain what part of the design they helped to bring to life and changes they want to see happen in the future. Here are some of Bilal’s talking points from the conclusion of the presentation-

“I think this program is important because it’s really changing the way this room is viewed. If it works the way that we’re thinking about it, it can change not only how kids come in here to play games, but also how older people and everyone in the community uses it. It’s going to give this room a better vibe and a better space for Asfaha. It will be good for it to change because it hasn’t changed in a long time, so this room can be productive and more welcoming. All in all we’re really helping so that it’s what everybody feels comfortable in and feels safe in, so that it can be of good use to everybody.”

–Bilal, DYN Student


Designing with the Earth in Mind

In Seattle, being environmentally friendly is a big part of daily life. But at the Bullitt Center, helping the earth is more than using compostable cutlery and recycling. Teens from Design Your Hood visited the Bullitt Center and learned about how a building can be beautiful in appearance and low in impact.


On our tour, we got to see how the building is using elements of design to keep the carbon footprint of the space low. One way the center does this is through its windows, which help to regulate the temperature of the building. At night, the windows open to let cool air in, so there’s no need for air conditioning! AC can be inefficient (and expensive) so the Bullitt Center uses existing parts of the building to keep things comfortable for people working inside.


Not only do these windows control the climate inside, but also help control the climate outside by bringing in more natural light, reducing the need for electric light. Electric light, while not in high demand at the center because of the large windows and skylights, is also produced using sustainable means. Solar panels line the roof and produce all of the electricity the Bullitt Center needs…and then some!


The computer lab at the Community Center also has large windows and a skylight, which sparked the teens’ interest in using the existing design to make the computer lab’s new design more sustainable too. After this visit, we have so many new ideas about how to make our computer lab more environmentally friendly by using more natural light and energy-efficient technology.



The Design Cycle

Design Your Hood teens are working to re-design the computer lab at Yesler Terrace Community Center. To help make our ideas a reality, we need to work with the phases of design in mind. Carolina shared more information about these phases in class, and we are working to use the concepts of Notice, Ideate, and Prototype to bring our design ideas to life. Here are some examples of how we’ve been using these principles in class!

DYN Spring 2-1DYN Spring 2-2DYN Spring 2-3

First, we went around the lab and placed sticky notes on things we noticed need to change in the computer lab. This helped us to assess the space while also considering the needs of those who use the lab.

Next, we came up with some ideas of how to solve the problems we noticed by creating mood boards for the computer lab. We brainstormed colors, patterns, and layouts inspired by what we noticed on the sticky notes.

After we came up with these ideas, we broke into teams to tackle different parts of the design. One team worked on making a prototype model of the computer lab using our ideas about the layout and new technology we brainstormed about. They started out by using Legos to build a rough draft of the room before moving on to use foam board, cork, and balsa wood for a model of the new computer lab.

DYN Spring 2-4




Design Inspiration at Olson Kundig

On April 20, youth from Design Your Hood travelled to Olson Kundig for a tour of the office and some time to chat with two architects about their current projects. Before the visit, we got the chance to show off some of our ideas for re-designing the computer lab at Yesler Community Center.

DYN Spring Photo 1-1

We received feedback on our preliminary design ideas, and workshopped together to figure out our next steps. In class, Carolina explained the steps of the design process to help frame our work, and we worked together to notice things in the room we want to change. Once we collected our ideas of things to change, we worked in small groups to develop 3 proposals for how to change the space.

After showing these ideas to Jesse and Christian from Olson Kundig, we got to tour their space and get some more inspiration for our own designs. They showed us scale models of their projects, and how they implement unique designs in their own offices. One of our favorite things was the water-powered skylight. It even waters the plants on the roof!

We also learned how to do drafts of the room’s layout, using printed versions of the computer lab’s layout and tracing paper. When we came back from Olson Kundig, we tried making our own drafts of the computer lab to see how much furniture we can fit in the room and where to put it all.

DYN Spring Photo 1-7

We’re almost ready to start putting our ideas into a proposal and to make a model of our vision for the computer lab! Stay tuned for more updates about DYH soon!


A Piece of Me

Over the course of five weeks, nine youth collaborated on a photo mural encapsulating what home means to them. They learned about photographic composition and editing, as well as took a field trip to Board & Vellum Architecture and Design and met with local artists to further their teamwork and design skills. The resulting artwork, titled A Piece of Me, was installed in the Epstein Opportunity Center at Yesler Terrace in October and will travel to other locations both within Yesler and across the city throughout 2019.

The photo collage is composed of a central figure, made of color photographs, surrounded by black-and-white pictures. The figure’s face is a composite image which includes elements of all nine teens’ faces. The figure’s body is made up of the youths’ self-portraits, as well as photographs of their hands holding objects that symbolize home to them. The figure also has an anatomical heart, hand-drawn by some of the teens using red and blue markers on transparencies. Framing for this piece was generously provided by Gallery Frames.

Each teen wrote an artist statement answering the following questions: What does home mean to you? How do the photographs you’ve taken reflect your idea of home? Why did you choose the object you photographed, and how does it reflect home? The artist statements hang next to the piece, so that viewers can have a deeper understanding of the meaning behind the photo mural.

Ultimately, the teens were impressed with what they were able to accomplish together in only five weeks, and excited to see their artwork on display in different venues across the city. We will be sure to update the blog as the photo mural is reinstalled in new locations!

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