Architecture: Design + Build

About Architecture: Design + Build

Reimagining the space around you, and actually creating something that shifts the way people interact in that space is an incredibly powerful process for anyone, and especially for young people who are often not given that opportunity or trusted with that responsibility. Consequently, the shape of our city often lacks the perspective of its newest generation. Our Architecture: Design + Build program  empowers this next generation to act as leaders in shaping the built environment around them.

Our program uses industry-standard software and cutting edge tools such as our own 3D printer and laser cutter, in addition to hand-built modeling and architectural drawing.

Youth Art Exchange has partnered with the San Francisco Unified School District and John O’Connell High School’s Building, Construction and Trades Lab to offer new classes:

  • Design + Build: The young architects learn the basics in architecture design and construction in this collaboration with John O’Connell High School. Our young architects in recent years have designed and constructed the Excelsior and the OMI neighborhoods’ first parklets. They have also built temporary street furniture, waste-bins in Portola, a pavilion for the Bayview Asian Community Garden, and a number of public art projects in the Excelsior.
  • Advanced Architecture Firm: The [untitled] Architecture Firm is an advanced architecture program that engages students in designing and building structures and spaces across San Francisco. Our young architects work on real-world projects from concept to construction, working with clients, community organizations, professional architects, and city agencies. They are currently working on a San Francisco Living Innovation Zone, an art cart to create, exhibit, and sell work, and a parklet.
  • In addition to our after school program, for the 2017–18 school year, YAX is leading an in–school Architecture class at Leadership High School.

Notable Projects

We have worked in several neighborhoods across San Francisco for public art & architecture projects including the Mission, Excelsior, OMI, and Portola neighborhoods.

  • John O’Connell Parklet 2016-2017
  • Farley’s on 65th Parklet Conceptual Design, 2016
  • ART/LIT Living Innovation Zone on Fulton Street, Asian Art Museum & SF Public Library, 2015-2017
  • Excelsior Neighborhood Art Cart, 2015-2016
  • Persia Triangle Kiosk, 2015
  • Bayview Asian Garden Gazebo, 2014-2015
  • Photo + Print + Architecture + Fashion Exhibit, Children’s Creativity Museum, 2014
  • Ocean Avenue Parklet Design/Build, 2014
  • Persia Triangle Street Furniture Design/Build, 2014
  • Portola Waste Bins Design/Build, 2014
  • Carnival Float Design/Build, 2012
  • Mama Arts Café Parklet Design/Build, 2012
  • Temporary Interactive Installation at the Persia Triangle, 2013
  • Temporary Interactive Installation at Asterisk Gallery, 2013

Project Gallery

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Kali Gordon | Lead Faculty

Kali Ren Gordon is a licensed Architect and Social Entrepreneur with a background in Industrial and Visual Communication Design. With an accumulation of seven years professional experience as founder, principal and employee in corporate, medium and small firms across Canada and the U.S, her focus is on Public Interest Design, Social Architecture and Environmental Resilience. Her background brings over 13 years experience studying, practicing, volunteering and living abroad in countries such as Canada, U.S, Mexico, Costa Rica, Italy and Brazil, giving her a broad perspective on the many social complexities facing our world today. She believes whole heartily that design can be used as a powerful tool to make a difference on both a local and global scale.

Contact: kali at youthartexchange dot org

Prescott ReavisArchitecture

Prescott Reavis is an Oakland based spatial activist, designer, planner and educator who has merged his 20 years of experiences in architecture, planning and education to develop and construct inclusive communities internationally with a focus on cultural design and planning justice. Prescott is accredited in Sustainable Design, certified in Social Economic Environmental Design and has completed all of his Architecture Registration Exams, he earned his Bachelor of Architecture with a minor in Education from Howard University and is currently completing his Masters in Urban Planning from San Jose State University with a focus on involving youth in the planning and design processes. Mr. Reavis is a Project Manager and Community Planner for the nationally recognized, nonprofit Asian Neighborhood Design, in San Francisco where he provides community engagement, planning, design services and advocacy for non-profits, small business and community based organizations as well as linking design with workforce development projects.
Contact: prescott at youthartexchange dot org | Website:

Chris WoodLead Faculty

Chris Wood is the Construction Arts teacher and shop master at John O’Connell High School in San Francisco, as well as an adjunct faculty teaching Construction at City College of San Francisco. Partnering with Youth Art Exchange for the first time in Fall of 2015, Chris shares his tremendous experience as a professional contractor teaching construction techniques and introducing students to the use of common shop tools.

Key Partners

Our Architecture + Public Art program is able to design & build projects citywide because of the support that we receive from our partners. From supporting us to navigate city planning requirements to funding our efforts, the program leads youth architecture project as a result of these contributions.