Matt Wolpe: Combining Design/Build and Social Justice

Matt Wolpe, co-owner of Just Fine Design/Build in Oakland, CA, finished his Yestermorrow internship—an intensive six-month “work and learn” experience—in 2008. That experience allowed Matt to complete a selection of courses that have made him “able to carve out a satisfyingly wacky niche of work that would not have been possible without the springboard of Yestermorrow.” Since leaving Yestermorrow, matt has worked to combine his design/build interests with education and social justice.

“When I first moved to the Bay Area I began working and teaching at The Crucible, an industrial arts non-profit in West Oakland, and have since been on staff at UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design in the woodshop helping teach design students how to be “makers.” The last few years, my work has branched out to do grant funded community design/build projects with nonprofit organizations to increase their capacity, mostly in the field of urban agriculture.”

Recent projects have included a timber frame farmer’s market stand in Oakland, an “alternative” chicken coop for a community farm in the South Bronx, and a collaboration on a straw bale house on the Hopi reservation in northern Arizona. 

“I feel incredibly lucky to have done such work which was kick started by my time at Yestermorrow – but even more so for the people I met while I was there, many of whom are still very dear to my heart and present in my life.”