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Environmental Works

Seattle, 2014


Environmental Works is a nonprofit community design center located in a historic building on Capitol Hill, Seattle.

A grassy courtyard behind their building served as a place for casual meetings, coffee and lunch breaks, and often, as a place for laboring mothers to walk and rest (a hospital with a large Maternity ward is a block away). As a design firm, Environmental Works thought they could easily come up with plan to improve their gathering space but it proved difficult when opinions differed, ideas clashed, and other work got in the way. Despite their best intentions, the courtyard remained unchanged for many years.

When the opportunity for Pomegranate Center Fellows to come in and help arose, Environmental Works quickly jumped at the chance.

As part of their training, our Pomegranate Center Fellows took turns facilitating meetings that took all of Environmental Works’ team’s ideas into consideration. The Fellows then turned those ideas into a workable design that everyone agreed on and could be built on a lean budget in only two days.

The result? A welcoming courtyard with a meditative walking spiral made from reclaimed bricks, a new bench along the sidewalk, a lovely little lending library box, fresh soil with new plantings and most important, a new space for Environmental Works staff to eat lunch, have a cup of tea or simply clear their mind with some fresh air.