Location: Seattle

Theme: Design/Build

Partner(s): Olson Kundig, JAS Design/Build, Huus Construction, Metis Construction

Lead: Sarah Smith

Last fall, Sawhorse Revolution and the Office of Arts & Culture released a groundbreaking RFP (Request for Proposals) encouraging Seattle-based non-profits and arts, culture, and heritage organizations to submit ideas for their own “Tiny Cultural Space”. The young women of Sawhorse Revolution ultimately selected the revolutionary Estelita’s Library as the client for this project. Estelita’s Library, located in Beacon Hill, is a home for social justice literature and cultural events, housing several thousand books and what library founder and director Edwin Lindo believes is the world’s largest collection of The Black Panther – the weekly newspaper circulated by the Black Panther Party. Estelita’s funky, intimate space (formerly The Station coffeehouse) serves as a sort of salon for Beacon Hill locals and activists around the city, in which the voices of people of color are amplified and access is open to all. 

Estelita’s kiosk interior rendering. Credit: Olson Kundig

Sawhorse students spent the fall term of 2018 under the wing of design mentors from Olson Kundig, designing a 200-square-foot library that would host Estelita’s new satellite location. With an emphasis on displaying the Panther Papers, the new library will be a cozy space that is meant to honor revolutionary and courageous people of the past and present. With custom, moveable bleacher seats, multiple entrances, and a special display case for the Panther Papers, our students’ design will be a new hub for equity work in Seattle. Estelita’s plans to use the space for cultural events and community-led discussions, poetry, salsa dancing, photography, and more. After stewarding the land offered by the City for this project for five years, ownership of the property will be transferred to Estelita’s Library in perpetuity, free of cost. 

According to Matthew Richter, Cultural Space Liaison for the Office of Arts & Culture, Sawhorse Revolution’s youth designers and builders bring a transformative element to the project. “Empowering these young womxn, and relying on them for the success of the entire project, has become one of the most important elements of the program,” he says. “The pathways and relationships this program has been able to foster not just within the cultural community, but now between youth and professionals in the design and construction fields, is foundational to the fostering of a creative economy in Seattle.

In Spring 2019, Sawhorse Revolution’s all-womxn’s program completed Phase I of the Estelita’s Library Project – the framing, structural, sheathing, and house-wrapping of the Estelita’s Kiosk project.

Our biggest project ever, Estelita’s Kiosk, saw a permit developed and submitted thanks to Olson Kundig, and is well on its way to landing in the Central District.

Ten young womxn worked with three professional builders – Katie from JAS Design/Build, Kim from Huus Construction, and Sarah from Metis Construction – and a cadre of volunteers, including former students, designers from Olson Kundig and Graphite, and builders from Metis construction, to complete the first phase of the project.

This summer, we’ll take on the concrete piers and moving the structure, and the build will start again in earnest next fall, seeing the windows, doors, siding, roofing, and more installed on the structure.

ENORMOUS THANKS to:

Olson Kundig for the permit work and years of support; Coughlin Porter Lundeen for the structural work; Davis Wright Tremaine for legal consultation on the land use permit and land transfer;
Simpson Strong Tie for donated hardware; Dunn Lumber for at-cost materials; Vaproshield for donated vapor barrier system; Rushing Corp. for the Electrical and Mechanical design and work; North Coast Electric for all the interior electrical and lighting materials; Reider Facades and Steve Mork for the most gorgeous siding donation ever!

Stay tuned as this project moves to the Central District and transforms the landscape! We have more partnerships lined up for the fall… can’t wait to show you more as the project evolves!