Session: Advanced Design/Build, Fall 2021

Builders: 12 teen builders

Materials: Douglas fir 2×4 lumber (kiln-dried), interior paint, water-based clear-coat, GRK screws, wood screws.

Description: In our fall session, our teen builders constructed a 2×4 performance stage for Chapter510, a local youth writing and publishing non-profit in Oakland. The stage (that also doubles as a bench, that also doubles as a work area for young writers) was designed by Gensler, an architecture and design firm, inspired by some of our previous bench designs for Youth Spirit Artworks and others. Our intrepid crew prepped the materials at Girls Garage, measuring, cutting, sanding and painting the lumber. They then trekked over to Chapter510’s new location in Old Oakland for the on-site construction, where they assembled the stage rib by rib. The entire structure is built only of 2x4s, alternating in orientation and direction to create a strong surface. Instructor Allison Oropallo pushed the tempo of the build, encouraging our girls and gender-expansive youth to move with the sleek efficiency and collaboration of a Nascar pit crew—not a moment wasted!

After the construction was complete, we held a ribbon-cutting ceremony, where our students presented the project and the building process to family and friends. This project was particularly meaningful, as our students built a literal and metaphorical stage for other East Bay youth to share their stories and use their powerful voices for change.

Girls Garage Chapter510 performance stage
Design plan for Chapter510 performance stage