Location: Rainier Arts Center, Seattle WA
Theme: Work Readiness

Resilient Environments Lab II – Design

This fall saw the return of our Resilient Environments Laboratory (RELab) — a year-long design-build program exploring questions of community, health, and food justice, in the face of our climate and housing crises. Students from multiple Seattle schools joined us for this exploration and design phase, beginning with an education in the model of mutual aid. We attended a mutual aid fair hosted at Black Lives Memorial Garden in Cal Anderson Park – an important community space established in 2020 during the George Floyd protests in Capitol Hill, now in danger of displacement by Seattle Parks Department.

Students got acquainted with many local groups facilitating mutual aid, and considered throughout the program how to support these groups with a custom designed and built structure. Our group selected Black Star Farmers as the client for their project, and began dreaming up ideas to support the collective in “working toward the radical reclamation of land and food sovereignty.”

Ideas ranged from a mobile market veggie cart, to a resource stall with a seed library, to a small barn! Students worked within a few design constraints, such as a maximum footprint, and taped out potential floor plans to walk through and imagine the space. By early December, the team’s mentor architects were able to fuse many of these ideas into one cohesive design, rendered below.

Big thanks to our fabulous mentor team, Jasmine McNeil and Austin Gehman (Hewitt), Kaleb Germinaro, Jennifer Danison (Runberg Architecture Group), and Sawhorse alum Wanbo Mora-Cheung for working with our students and guiding the design phase.  Thanks also to Xio Alvarez for helping with the mutual aid fair interview process, and to BSF for educating us on mutual aid. Finally, thanks to Rainier Arts Center for opening up their space for our weekly classes, and to Interagency Academy for hosting us for demonstrations and recruitment!