The Technology Access Foundation’s new technology drop-in center recently opened in White Center, Seattle thanks to the design team of Miller Hull and Public Architecture. TAF is a grass-roots, non-profit organization that is championing the fight to provide science, technology, engineering and math education to students of color throughout Washington State. As of October 24, the LEED Gold-designed (soon to be certified) TAF technology center, which is located in Lakewood Park, will be providing White Center with a new community venue and a vehicle for a brighter future for local teens.
The TAF’s new home, named The Bethaday Community Learning Space, was a design born from the foundation’s interest in the ScrapHouse project, which was developed by San Francisco-based Public Architecture (founders of the 1% Program for pro bono architectural services). The ScrapHouse was a single-family house constructed as a demonstration of how a building could be built entirely from salvaged materials. Public Architecture contacted fellow 1% Program participant, Miller Hull, to be the local designers for The Bethaday Community Learning Space. Working towards a strong community-based design for the public good, the combined team of Public Architecture and Miller Hull partnered with TAF to vet out the organization’s vision and needs.
The precedent set by the ScrapHouse helped propel the sustainable design ideals of the project. Caroline Kreiser, Miller Hull’s Project Manager, stated in an interview with Inhabitat that “local salvaged materials were important to the client, because they wanted to draw on resources from the community they were serving”. Some of the materials acquired by the design team included floor beams and solid core doors, which were used for the entry-bridge and wall paneling, respectively. Not only is it symbolic that the local community will be utilizing some of the public space built from material previously used in White Center, but it gives fresh examples of how to reuse embodied energy in sustainable design.
Lakewood Park was also a big recipient of rejuvenation brought forth by this new Bethaday Community Learning Space. “Open space in the park, including beautiful old madrone trees, was given new light by placing this building in the park”, said Kreiser. Rain gardens and stormwater treatment developed from this project will even help to rejuvenate the lake at the heart of the park. One can ultimately feel the transformation of the community as they walk across the entry bridge to this new chapter in King County’s Equality and Social Justice Agenda.
Miller Hull, Public Architecture, Foushee and Associates, Point 32 and the Technology Access Foundation have really created something special here. This new home for the foundation cheers for progressive, community-based innovation, from the bathroom tiles painted by local school children to the server room being designed into the main space of the building so it can be used as an educational opportunity. TAF’s phenomenal success has seen almost 80% of TAF students go on to higher education after high school! Hopefully, the foundation continues to succeed, and it can spread its success further into the nation.