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T.T. Minor Elementary School
Seattle, Washington, 2001-2002

Following a master plan developed for the school, a long trellis and garden were designed for the north edge of the site. The trellis became a buffer between the play are and the street, replacing the chain-link fence.The trellis incorporates two sheds near the school and seating and games tables for local elderly residents. One of the major goals was to encourage use of the space by residents of the neighborhood and not just school age children. A group of T.T. Minor students and faculty helped identify specific uses and needs for the sheds and storage facilities and commented on the proposed design for the trellis.
The trellis is a dynamic wood and steel structure that moves like a wave down the perimeter of the schoolyard, designed and constructed by students the undulating wave mimics the motion of double-dutch jump ropes. The sheds, also built by students, were built on piers to keep them up off the wet ground. The steel frame was fabricated in the University of Washington metal shop and sheathed in exterior-grade sign panels.

In 2002 Neighborhood Studio students were invited back to design and build a performance and play stage near the wall of two west facing classrooms. Through design presentations the students were encouraged to design for a wide variety of activities: from break dancing and double-Dutch, to informal play (such as running and jumping around), to recitals, graduations or award ceremonies. The Studio designed three round stages of different sizes and vertical levels to best suit these needs and desires. The three stages are connected by a handi-accessible ramp. Made of poured in place concrete with decks of framed cedar, topped with a material made of recycled tampon applicators. A low wall with tall painted steel verticals serves as a back drop for  the stage and creates a buffer between the stage areas and the adjacent classrooms. Bamboo is planted in recycled chemical barrels in this buffer zone while a gate controls access to the space.

While building the stage the students noticed that the two classrooms facing the site. They took the opportunity to design and build sun-shades for the rooms based on sun angle calculations, that blocked the heat while allowing for soft indirect light, so necessary in the often gloomy Seattle.