Cooper School Artist Lofts/Youngstown Cultural Arts Center


The three-story, 65,415 sq. ft. Cooper School was built in 1917, expanded in 1929, and abandoned in 1989 due to seismic safety concerns. Until its rehabilitation in 2005, the un-reinforced brick masonry building remained vacant. In 1999, the building was purchased by the Delridge Neighborhood Development Association (DNDA) and subsequently designated as a Seattle landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

SMR partnered with the DNDA to transform the school into a cultural arts facility, taking great care to integrate new program spaces while maintaining the building’s historic appearance and respecting the controls placed on its exterior by the Landmark Ordinance. The rehabilitated building provides 36 affordable artist live/work studios, classrooms, a movement studio, shop space, offices for local non-profit organizations, and a 150-seat performing arts theater. The completed facility currently serves as a vibrant arts community and provides the neighborhood with an invaluable resource.

Client: Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association (DNDA)
Location: Delridge, Seattle, Washington
Program: 36 live/work studios for low income artists on the top two floors and attic, 150-seat theater, and art gallery
Highlights: Funded in part by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; 2006 Gold Nugget Award of Merit