As a whole, being given the opportunity to design a playhouse and work with local nonprofit Caring Choices’ Recreation and Dreams for Kids with Cancer Program (RAD) and other local Chico businesses was a pleasant experience. Designing the playhouse gave me the opportunity to put my architecture knowledge of to work. During this process I was also able to learn about the other end of the architecture process: the building phase.
My classmate, Avery Marsh, was my partner in the design process. We stepped out of the usual zone of design and stepped into the world of Dr. Seuss. The decision to create a Dr. Seuss-themed playhouse was made in the beginning, and it became a different process than what I was used to. I had to not only think outside of the box to make it fun for children, but it also had to be a sound radical design.
Once the design came together, the process of gathering materials for the construction began. Since RAD is a nonprofit program, we were able to get many of the supplies we needed donated. The Caring Choices staff took Avery and me to local businesses to ask for supplies, and to my surprise, businesses were very giving! Once we had enough materials to get started the next step began: construction.
Caring Choices asked Pleasant Valley High School’s ROP Construction class to build the playhouse; the instructor agreed and the students began construction. Caring Choices contacted local CBS 12 Action News, and nominated us for their “Kids In Action” segment. All the students involved were interviewed. The Chico Unified School Board soon became aware of the project, and Caring Choices arranged for the Playhouse team to present the project during a school board meeting. The board loved the project. While we presented, they watched with wide eyes and told us our presentation was a “treat.”
After that exposure the project really became a local success, so Avery and I decided to enter the project into the California State Fair. The project was entered and to our surprise we learned that we won First Place in our category! By now the project had reached so many more people than we had ever imagined!
Even though the playhouse had reached a level of popularity, the construction process was still not completed. Unfortunately, the school year ended before the playhouse could be completed, and it was delivered to Modern Builders. Modern Builders, Caring Choices, and volunteers have teamed up to complete the process. The playhouse is in the finishing stages and will likely be completed by this fall. Throughout the whole process, the RAD team and the local businesses were great to work with. I learned much more than I would have ever learned in a classroom!