Seattle Architectural Foundation Programs
Our two-hour, guided, walking tours are developed and led by trained volunteers. This program was the first to connect people to Seattle's built environment. From physical details to historical significance each tour gives its participants an opportunity to understand and appreciate their community. Although we are especially pleased when tour participants have no knowledge of architecture and design, we welcome design professionals so that they can better understand the environmental context for which they are designing. At the end of each tour participants are urged to get involved in shaping Seattle's future.
SAF's youth programs serve young people ages 5-18. Although our purpose is not to encourage students to explore architecture and design as a possible career path, many do. Through our various programs youth learn how to creatively solve social issues through design, which involves the creation of physical models.
Design in Depth lectures and panel discussions bring together architects,industry professionals and end users (general public), to highlight a broad range current design topics The goal is for the audience to engage in discussion with the panelists and become more knowledgeable about how design impacts their everyday lives. The 2014 series will focus on adaptive re-use and how this helps preserve and sustain some of our most treasured neighborhoods.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
SAF's inbeTWEEN program brings young Seattle citizens together to solve social issues through design.One student participant, Bella, was just 11 years old when she took part in the inaugural SAF inbeTWEEN program in 2008, in which a group of area students reviewed environmental and social impacts of the built environment, including homelessness. After exploring current solutions like Tent City, the students collaborated to design innovative solutions for homeless shelters using found and recycled materials, creatively harnessing natural resources to operate their structures. Soft spoken at the time, Bella assumed the leadership role in her group and rose to the challenge of coordinating her team's solution addressing this serious social issue.
The following year and with a noticeably stronger voice, Bella returned to SAF, this time focusing efforts on disaster relief housing-specifically, transforming a temporary structure into a permanent home. Wanting more, Bella sought out ways to increase her involvement with SAF which led to the creation of a workshop about designing for mobility or universal design. This topic was dear to Bella's heart because her godmother, Leta, is a wheelchair user, and she envisioned designing a space for her that would provide ease in mobility.
These experiences have encouraged Bella to continue exploring how she can make a difference. She recently coordinated a drive to collect goods for the Tent City that was located near her school and took the time to film interviews with residents to better understand the how this community housing model helps create a safe environment, however temporary its components.
Bella also recently launched her own non-profit, ADE Structures, to support teens who want to learn about design and how it can change the world. This summer she attended a camp at Brown University on biomimicry and is currently researching the design and operation of solar panels (those developed by mimicking the process of photosynthesis.) In 2012 Bella returned to intern with SAF, assisting with grants and preparing curriculum research for an upcoming InbeTWEEN program on adaptive re-use.
Bella is an exceptional young person! SAF is proud to have mentored her over the past four years and we are excited to see what she accomplishes in her life. Through our youth-oriented programming, we hope to empower more youth to make a difference, take initiative and effect change.