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[Photo by BUILD LLC]

Months ago we put out a signal for pro-bono work here at BUILD, shortly thereafter we were contacted by an extraordinary group: Seattle Youth Garden Works.  Their mission is to empower homeless and under-served youth through garden-based education and employment.  It’s pretty friggin amazing what this group is accomplishing at their U-district and Georgetown gardens.  In addition to giving young people some serious life tools, they sell a wealth of gorgeous vegetables each Saturday morning at the University Farmers Market.  You can learn more about them here.

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[Photo by BUILD LLC]

One of the ingredients to their success is the learning component of the program.  Lessons and discussions are conducted in the “learning circle” –an outdoor covered shelter large enough to protect a table and a dozen chairs.  With the previous structure in disrepair we helped SYGW with the design and construction of a new shelter.

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The structure is designed to be simple, light and cost effective.  Canvas tarps from the previous structure are re-used and sewn together for the new roof, this saves on both weight of the structure and costs.  Stick framing with steel cables and turnbuckles keep the new structure open and airy, while providing plenty of lateral resistance.  Check out our Lego-inspired construction drawings from a previous post.

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[Photo by Juliet Anderson]

A fantastic group of volunteers showed up to construct the learning circle over a weekend and it’s now completed and in use.  We’ve built a lot of projects over the years and the learning circle is one of our favorite experiences.  It’s great to see people coming together out of generosity and interest in a worthy cause.

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[Photo by Juliet Anderson]

There is an incomparable pleasure in putting your skill-set to work where it is best served.  And it feels great to get out in the sunshine and do something physical.  Simply put, it feels good to be of use. Work in the design and construction industry is sluggish for most of us and solutions to the economic challenges seem more convoluted by the day.  We’re proposing that this is precisely the time to get out there and put in some elbow grease for a non-profit.  While the banking and construction industries remain unpredictable, the non-profits consistently need your know-how and your muscle.

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[Photos by Juliet Anderson]

Over the holiday weekend, while you’re having a drink or two at the BBQ and watching the fireworks we propose the following: consider donating some time or expertise to a worthy non-profit organization.  Do a bit of research next week and find a group that would greatly benefit from your efforts. Get out there and do some good, be of use where it has an enormous impact. For you young architects and students of architecture out there, this is a great way to get some construction experience under your belt.

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[Photo by Juliet Anderson]

Some shout-outs are in order to the rock-stars who made this project happen: Aaron Nelson of Sahale Bridge Builders who is a Jedi-ninja of steel connections, Juliet Anderson, Leslie Heimer, Katy Saunders for giving up their entire weekend, Aaron Reed, Samantha Young, Cass Salzwedel, Brad Kramer, Christopher Hanson for the hard work and tools, and Bob Hall for the canvas work.

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[Photo by BUILD LLC]

Compton Lumber discounted the framing materials on the project and Tacoma Screw discounted all the steel hardware.  A HUGE thanks to both groups for being team players.

Further interest in Seattle Youth Garden Works can be directed as follows:
Tax-deductible contributions can be coordinated through the SYGW website.
Tours and information about volunteering/involvement can be directed to Bradley Kramer, Board President-Elect
Get reservations for the on-site dinners “Outstanding in the Field

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[Photo by Juliet Anderson]

Cheers and have an extraordinary 4th of July weekend