Holding Space for Young Writers
Economic justice
Architectural design
Chapter 510 Youth Writing Center

Chapter 510 is a youth writing, bookmaking, and publishing center in Oakland, California that provides a safe, educational space where young writers ages 8–19 can hone their writerly craft. In enriching environments like Chapter 510, young people from historically oppressed populations—who might not have considered the creative industries as accessible or possible—are able to learn, grow, practice, and thrive.

Our approach

Design question

But how to unleash artistic potential? Space design plays an immeasurable role, as it creates the conditions for overlooked young people to feel seen and acknowledged in the fullness of their talents and humanity.

Design response

Places like Chapter 510 are ideal candidates for pro bono work. It’s good for the community, the design team, and the beneficiaries—the kids who might author the next bit of prose that makes us weep. The interior renovation of Chapter 510’s space—now headquarters, store, and workshop—is a medley of colors and joyful expression, manifested painstakingly over the course of a three-year process. In 2022, the project was awarded a Community Impact Award from Gensler Architects San Francisco.


“It was a magical group of architects who designed our writers' room and our new writing center within the former market in Old Oakland. Between 2018 and 2021, Jeremy and his team of designers and architects gave their time pro-bono. They listened to our youth and families, followed the lead of our artists, they went through multiple design iterations with our staff, and provided detailed blueprints for our contractor. They even helped us source materials, fixtures, and furniture—much of it donated from their vendors and clients. Our gratitude to Jeremy and the team has no bounds. Our center is beautiful, inspiring, modular, functional for all our needs—and it’s award-winning, too.”

Janet Heller

Co-founder, Executive Director, Director of Education, and Teaching Artist at Chapter 510