Our Advanced Design/Build program is a year-round cohort of our most committed builder girls. This cohort brings together 9th-12th grade girls from diverse backgrounds to tackle complex, community-based projects designed and built by girls themselves.
Over three after-school sessions and one week of summer programming each year, this team of high school girls embarks on our most ambitious design and construction projects for local community clients, seeing projects from conception and design development to construction documentation and on-site project construction. By applying math, science, carpentry, drafting, welding, and leadership skills, projects from the Advanced Design/Build program challenge girls to create and complete an architectural project that will live in the world for years to come. Girls from this program have built a greenhouse, furniture for a women’s shelter, a public parklet for a local restaurant, and a chicken coop-in-progress.
Most participants in the Advanced Design/Build cohort have been coming to Girls Garage for many years and express great interest in STEM, design, architecture, or trades careers. This program also puts girls in a position of leadership and activism, voicing their ideas in public arenas and with real clients. We work hard to support this advanced cohort with supplementary discussions and lessons related to confidence, fear, career pathways, college applications, how to apply for a job or put together a resume, and more. We also hold a safe space for intimate conversations about identity, confidence, and navigating the world as a young woman. Through partnerships with architecture firms, engineers, and female STEM leaders, we also connect girls to mentors in their fields of interest.
The program is no-cost for girls and families, and opens invitations and applications each fall for the year-round cohort.
Beginning in Fall 2019, girls have designed and are currently constructing a 500-square-foot chicken coop and run for Urban Tilth’s North Richmond Farm. Applying skills in carpentry, drafting, geometry, welding, and more, girls researched chicken behavior and the environmental needs of chickens, then brought their creative ideas to life through a group design process. In December, we broke ground on the construction site, poured concrete posts as our foundation, built a 15×15-foot deck and coop “cube,” and this spring/summer, will finish construction of the coop’s roof and run. This is a comprehensive design/build project that challenges girls to work as a team and build a beautiful coop that will live in the community.