Heron’s Nest Community Kitchen: A Collaboration Between Sawhorse Revolution and the Duwamish Tribe

We are thrilled to partner once again with Sawhorse Revolution, a Seattle-based nonprofit whose mission is to foster confident, community-oriented youth through the power of carpentry and craft. Heron’s Nest Community Kitchen marks our fifth collaboration. (Our first was Estelita’s Kiosk which was introduced in the fifth edition of The Connection!)

Mentored and supervised by volunteer AEC professionals, students participating in Sawhorse Revolution programs bring community projects to life. During the build, students learn to think like designers and soak up practical carpentry and building skills. We at Coughlin Porter Lundeen wholeheartedly believe in this model and were thrilled to get involved in another project.

Heron’s Nest Community Kitchen

In collaboration with Shared Spaces Foundation, Heron’s Nest Outdoor (a community nonprofit rooted in the Duwamish River Valley), and the larger Duwamish Valley community, the Sawhorse Revolution team is working toward building a community kitchen that can be used for events at the Outdoor Education Center. Mahlum Architects hosted three design charettes to gather community input to shape the design.

Mahlum came prepared with concept-level sketches, presented them to the group, and asked for feedback. ‘What do you like about this concept? What do you not like?’ They showed a variety of options that community members were invited to weigh in on. It was very collaborative and fun to be a part of,” shared Camie Mamer, who is one of the volunteer structural engineers.

The final design is a community kitchen inspired by a traditional longhouse that will utilize as many natural materials as possible. It’ll be a one-story, wood-framed, partially open-air structure with two small, enclosed spaces for a restroom and a refrigerator.

The Civil and Structural Design

While the Sawhorse Revolution method dictates that the students are the builders, there were a few site details that our civil and structural team members needed to handle first!

The West Seattle site is surrounded by steep slopes that are categorized as environmentally critical areas. Our civil team, led by Bailey Cook and Priyanka Jeevaretanam, addressed this challenge by working with the geotechnical engineer and Mahlum to establish a steep slope buffer that pushed the building footprint away from the hazard zone.

This 50% slope also complicated the foundation design. To account for the steep slope buffer and poor soil conditions, our structural team, led by Camie Mamer and Jenna Louie, modified the design to include a pile foundation system which a professional general contractor will construct before the students arrive on site. The structural team also utilized dimensional lumber planks for the shear walls and roof diaphragms due to the tribe’s desire to avoid any composite materials.

Additional design details handled by our team consisted of permitting documentation, drainage review, and connecting amenities, such as the sink and restroom, to existing utilities on site.

What Volunteering Means to Us

Heron’s Nest Community Kitchen is Camie Mamer’s second Sawhorse Revolution project. “I worked on the Danny Woo Garden Shed two years ago and it was such a great introduction to the program that when I was approached to do this one, I was immediately on board. I really like working with the Sawhorse team – they make the experience so fun, and the projects are always interesting and impactful. I find mixing up my day-to-day by taking on these smaller community-driven projects really rewarding.

This marks Bailey Cook’s first experience volunteering with Sawhorse. “I really enjoyed the presentation they did for our office and knew about the other projects we had been a part of. When I heard they needed civil engineering support, I was quick to sign up! Given the permitting items and slope issues on site, I felt like my expertise with the city could be an asset to the team. It’s been awesome collaborating with Sawhorse and I look forward to seeing the community kitchen come to life.

Now in permit review with the City of Seattle, the Sawhorse team eagerly awaits the green light to start construction!

Sawhorse Revolution is always looking for support and volunteers. Head to their website to see how you can get involved and support their work now!

Renderings courtesy of Mahlum Architects