Estelita’s Library is a community gathering space and social justice library in Seattle’s Central District and the latest project from Sawhorse Revolution. A Seattle-based non-profit organization, Sawhorse empowers youth through opportunities to create, design and build socially conscious projects in their communities. Sawhorse annually hosts a design and build project staffed and attended exclusively by women, building power in teen girls and paving the way for equity in the building trades.
The library is the pilot project of “Tiny Cultural Spaces,” a partnership between Sawhorse Revolution and the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture that transforms unused, city-owned properties into cultural and community-oriented spaces. The vision for Estelita’s Library was to create an explicitly welcoming community hub, supported by warm wood floors and cheerful pastel walls. Built-in desks and bookshelves feature titles and authors themed around social justice, as well as one of the country’s largest collections of Black Panther newspapers. Just outside, a large exterior deck with rolling bleacher seats provides a venue to host lectures, readings, parties and other community events.
Designed and built by 20 high school aged young women in Sawhorse’s program, the project provided students hands-on training as well as an opportunity to engage with and transform their local community. Olson Kundig partnered with Sawhorse Revolution to provide mentorship and oversight, as well as permit drawing coordination. Additional funding and donations of labor and materials from local design and construction firms and community partners supported the student cohort throughout the project.
Architect of Record: Olson Kundig
Builder/General Contractor: Sawhorse Revolution
Structural Engineer: Coughlin Porter Lundeen
Lighting & HVAC Design: Rushing
Cabinetry Fabrication: LMN Architects
Major Project Funders: Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, Mannix Canby, Boeing, Sellen Construction and National Organization of Women in Construction
Major Project Donors (Labor): DPR Construction, Gensler, MG2, Graphite Design, BN Builders and Wood Technology Center
Major Project Donors (Materials): Rieder Facades, VaproShield, Simpson Strong-Tie and North Coast Electric