Project Overview

In the Summer of 2014, ADC partnered with the YWCA of Asheville to build an outdoor classroom and covered stairwell for children taking part in their after-school and summer camp programs. The YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. The YWCA serves 6,000 families a year through programs that bridge gaps in education, earning power, health and wellness, and access to child care for low-income and minority members of our community.

Over 200 children come and go from the YWCA daily. Located in a residential neighborhood with nowhere to grow, the YWCA needed help to ensure efficient use of the outdoor space, parking lot and optimum traffic flow. We identified an unused grassy area where our studio would construct an outdoor classroom, gathering spot, and fitness area. Transforming this space and re-routing all after-school pick up and drop off traffic to the back lot helped the YWCA with their traffic problem while providing an exciting outdoor space for their students.

This area is located at the top of a set of stairs and leads to a back parking lot. Adjacent to the classroom, our DesignBuild class also designed an edible memorial garden to honor Laurey Masterson, a local activist and business entrepreneur. That garden was installed by volunteers in the Spring of 2015.

The 2014 DesignBuild Studio project offered students of all design disciplines—architecture, landscape architecture, planning, engineering, graphic design, construction management—an opportunity to significantly contribute to the design and delivery of this new community asset. Students were encouraged to engage YWCA members and children, in addition to surrounding community members, to better inform their design process. Students also had the opportunity to confer with the design team at Mathews Architecture, the firm responsible for the YWCA’s recent renovations and additions (and recipient of the North Carolina Chapter of the American Institute of Architects’ Firm of the Year Award in 2011).


  • Luke W. Perry, Architectural Designer
  • Miriam Gee, Architect

Class of 2014:

  • Serena Ching, Judson University (Architecture)
  • Monica Magcalis, Clemson University (Architecture, Graphic Design)
  • Paul Mosher, Clemson University (Architecture)
  • Nolan Rish, Clemson University (Landscape Architecture)
  • Clark Templeton, University of Virginia (Planning, Architecture)
  • Nathan Thomson, Virginia Tech (Landscape Architecture)
  • Brian Walgreen, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College (Construction Management)

DesignBuild Task Force:

  • Kate Ancaya, Living Roofs, Inc.
  • Aaron Brumo, ClarkNexsen
  • Adrian English, 2011 DesignBuild Alumni
  • Caitlin Edenfield, 2011 DesignBuild Alumni
  • Julie & Jason Gilliland, Site Design Studios
  • Doug Hecker, Clemson University
  • Chip Howell, Mathews Architecture
  • Scott Huebner, Brickstack Architecture
  • Ginger Huebner, Roots & Wings School of Art & Design
  • Alan McGuinn, ARCA Design
  • Heath Moody, AB Tech
  • Guillermo Rodriguez, Leisure by Design
  • Mitchel Sorin, Legerton Architecture
  • Tom Virant, Virant Design, Inc.
  • Jared Wheatley, Adolfson & Peterson Construction

For more information and photos, please visit our DesignBuild Studio blog.