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photo of Olson Kundig Staff Mentor Young Design-Builders in Design Your [Neighbor]Hood Program at SAM

Olson Kundig Staff Mentor Young Design‑Builders in Design Your [Neighbor]Hood Program at SAM


Design Your [Neighbor]Hood (DYN) is a Seattle Art Museum program that engages Seattle teenagers as design-builders. Recruited from local schools, each DYN session partners 10-12 students with working artists and craftspeople to conceptualize, develop and execute a project in their community. Each project’s vision and design are developed entirely by students, with support from artists and design professionals, including volunteers from Olson Kundig.

The Summer 2019 DYN session reimagined the programming and design of a small office and storage space at the Rainier Vista Neighborhood Center. Throughout the session, students worked closely with volunteer mentors from Olson Kundig to develop their design, and with carpenter and Teaching Artist Chris Landingin and representatives from Sawhorse Revolution, a local organization dedicated to teaching the craft of carpentry and construction to local youth, to learn hands-on skills.

The revitalized space provides a welcoming place for local teenagers to meet, apply for jobs, do homework and build relationships. A rolling couch and folding-top desks – custom-built by students – contribute flexible options for seating and work, allowing the space to transform for multiple uses. A dedicated recording studio – featuring audio equipment, a shielded microphone and acoustic panels assembled in a checkerboard pattern – supports the students’ interest in music and podcast production as a creative outlet.

Learn more about Design Your [Neighbor]Hood and other SAM programs for teens here, and visit the SAM Blog to watch a video about the Summer 2019 project.

Hopefully by giving young people a sense of what's possible through design and construction, they gain the confidence to affect the environment around them. Jesse Kingsley, DYN Mentor / Olson Kundig