914.200.3646 hello@archforkids.com

Teen Design Challenge: Revisioning Sleepy Hollow’s Vacant Spaces

November 11 & 13, 2021 | Sleepy Hollow, NY

A Community-centered design workshop for teens in the Sleepy Hollow area. 

The Vacant Spaces

Site A

64-68 Beekman Avenue

This site is located on upper Beekman (eastern end) on the south side of the block between Washington and Cortlandt Streets. It is situated across from the Morse Elementary School and playground. Beekman is lined with low rise mixed use buildings, with ground floor commercial spaces including restaurants, laundromats, bodegas, and other retail stores. Rental apartments are usually located on the upper floors. There is on street parking and the parking lot at the school can be used off hours. There is a Westchester Bee-Line bus stop directly in front of the site on Beekman; the number 13 bus that runs between Ossining and Port Chester. The Tarrytown train station is a 15 minute walk (.7 miles) from the site. The site is composed of two adjacent empty lots that have been vacant for approximately the last decade. The previous building burnt down.

The Vacant Spaces

Site A 

A teenage boy with brown hair in a blue tshirt leaning in towards a laptop screen displaying ArchForKids founder Janny Gedeon to listen to her virtual feedback on his vacant lot transformation project

ArchForKids was established in 2013 by architects/educators Janny Gedeon and Karen Orloff and arts administrator Kathryn Slocum. It is a leading provider of design-related STEAM programming in Westchester and New York City. Through hands-on, minds-on
experiences grounded in architecture, design, engineering and urban planning, ArchForKids spurs young people to explore how the built world around them affects who they are and how they live. Children have a natural set of skills applicable to the design process: a curiosity about their surroundings, a willingness to take risks and an unending supply of questions. Project-based design education cultivates these skills. As
young designers create parks and dream houses, go on “I Spy” architecture walks and construct model skyscrapers and sustainable cities, they apply academic concepts to real world situations. In addition, they gain a deeper understanding – and appreciation – of their own communities and the wider world.

About

Purpose

Everyone has a right to participate in the improvement of their communities. Yet youth input in community decision making, design choices and problem solving has historically been minimal. Young people remain a vast and usually untapped resource for short- and long-term community development issues. Through this project, we hope to demonstrate the importance and impact of letting kids have their say. They provide new ideas and voices that can spark engagement, enthusiasm, and investment in community planning. As for the kids themselves, this experience will foster a strong sense of ownership, stewardship, and investment. It will help establish a vested interest in long-term participation and contribution to community life.

This charrette is designed to offer solutions to make the downtown more attractive, equitable and convenient – and to reclaim spaces for people. We are hopeful that this project will really influence future town planners and community leaders to implement their ideas as well as engage youth in future planning efforts.

Program Specifics

ArchForKids and local architect Kersten Harries will lead teen participants in a 2-day design challenge. The teens will reimagine real vacant spaces in the village of Sleepy Hollow and learn important lessons related to architecture, urban planning, and design thinking. The teens will visit their chosen design site in person, brainstorm in groups to create a new purpose that would benefit the community and then follow the design process to sketch their ideas before bringing them to life in the form of 3D models which will be shared with the community in an exhibit displayed at the Warner Library. 

Throughout the program teen participants will work closely with experts in the fields of architecture, urban planning and design. They will interact with likeminded peers and get to know adult leaders in their community. At the end of the design challenge teens will get a certificate acknowledging their participation and will present their projects to peers, family, and the community. 

 

About Us

ArchForKids

ArchForKids was established in 2013 by architects/educators Janny Gedeon and Karen Orloff and arts administrator Kathryn Slocum. It is a leading provider of design-related STEAM programming in Westchester and New York City. Through hands-on, minds-on
experiences grounded in architecture, design, engineering and urban planning, ArchForKids spurs young people to explore how the built world around them affects who they are and how they live. Children have a natural set of skills applicable to the design process: a curiosity about their surroundings, a willingness to take risks and an unending supply of questions. Project-based design education cultivates these skills. As
young designers create parks and dream houses, go on “I Spy” architecture walks and construct model skyscrapers and sustainable cities, they apply academic concepts to real world situations. In addition, they gain a deeper understanding – and appreciation – of their own communities and the wider world.

Kersten Harries

Kersten Harries brings knowledge and expertise as an architect, creative placemaker, and resident of downtown Sleepy Hollow. Since 2015, Kersten has been serving on the Village’s Planning Board, the Village’s Public Space Council and Comprehensive Plan Committee. Most recently, she envisioned and managed the Wishing Wall, a 520’ temporary community art mural, awarded ArtWestchester’s 2021 Community Award.

A teenage boy with brown hair in a blue tshirt leaning in towards a laptop screen displaying ArchForKids founder Janny Gedeon to listen to her virtual feedback on his vacant lot transformation project

Have Questions? 

Feel free to reach out to us at hello@archforkids.com for more information or with any questions you may have. 

 

Thank You To ArtsWestchester

This project is made possible with funds from the Statewide Community Regrants Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and administered by ArtsWestchester.

What is a charrette?

A charrette is an intense and short period of design activity. The term originated in the 19th c. from the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where it was used to describe the final concentrated work effort by art and architecture students. As applied to community design and planning, a charrette combines this creative, intense time compression with public workshops and open houses. It has become one of the most powerful and effective tools for creative and collaborative problem solving in communities.