The Neighborhood Design/Build Studio is an award-winning studio offered by the Department of Architecture at the University of Washington where students design and build small community projects for Seattle-area nonprofit groups.
Helping Link is a grass roots, community based nonprofit organization in the heart of Seattle’s, Little Saigon. They seek to empower individuals and families in Seattle’s Vietnamese immigrant community through cultural, social, and educational activities.
The facility’s entry and approach posed problems that community members at Helping Link had long wanted to address. Hundreds of community members, including young children to seniors, enter Helping Link’s doors every year. With the help of a grant from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, the University of Washington’s Community Design Build Studio partnered with Helping Link to renovate their entry and terrace and improve its accessibility, safety and security, function, visibility, cultural relevance, and beauty - while working around the significant challenges of building upon an existing historic building and a site with uneven grading, retaining walls, and pits where topsoil had washed away.