Our History

Founded in 2012, by Gay Lorberbaum, Paul Krautmann, and Frank Lorberbaum, Building Futures: Design and Build Workshop began as a year-round Saturday workshop focused on supplementing the education of the under-served young people in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

In our first year, we taught over 100 students, grades 4th – 12th, how to approach and solve real-world design projects through developing their manual building and problem-solving skills. Beginning at the architectural model scale, students continued to design and build solutions at a full scale.

In 2014, we rented a 2400 sq. ft. space in Old North St. Louis. The new workshop space allowed us to expand our program offerings to weekday classes and after-school programs.

Due to a generous donation by the Kranzberg Arts Foundation in 2017, we moved down the street to a 5,100 sq. ft. workshop equipped with classroom space.

Today, we serve over 1,000 students in weekday in-school classes, after-school programs, and our extensive summer programming. We hold true to our original mission of providing hands-on education for all youth by offering our flagship program, free Saturday Workshops. We’re proud to serve the more than 16 St. Louis City schools, including an entire school district, with our in-school and after-school programming for Kindergarten through 12th grade.

What We Value

Diversity + Accessibility

  • Experiential and nurturing learning environments
  • Free Saturday Workshop Program


  • Collaborative Projects and team-building
  • Holistic opportunities for under-served children
  • The accommodation of diverse learning styles using principles such as Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences

Future-Focused Creativity

  • STEAM-based principles
  • The provision of youth project-based learning, based upon exploration, creativity, critical thinking, discovery, problem-solving


  • The preparation of youth to matriculate in an ever-changing world

Personal Choice

  • Opportunities for independent learning and making
  • Success within Reach


  • The introduction of youth to many potential careers


Building Futures Mission is to provide the knowledge base and skills that young people need to excel in the twenty first century.


Building Future’s Vision is to engage and expose the entire student to the dynamic possibilities of their future. Through a design/build, STEAM project-based learning approach the student has all the tools necessary to build their life at full scale.

Value Proposition

Diverse and accessible educational programming for young people of all abilities and backgrounds. Providing independent, experimental learning that aids in the self-discovery of future career pathways.

Positioning Statement

For young people, limitations to educational self-development resources hinder their ability to create and act on future goals. Building Futures: Design and Build Workshop provides diverse and accessible programming to young people of all backgrounds and abilities because the future of our world depends on their ability to independently discover and conquer both known and unknown challenges.

Invest in young lives. Create a brighter future.

Young people are not getting the education necessary for their well-being and future success. Our purpose is to bring young people together to critically think, invent, and create sustainable solutions for their every day, real-world problems in order to lead better, healthier lives.

Our team of educational leaders works directly with students to empower them to discover that what they learn in school does have practical applications in their every day. Students work with constraints and possibilities of structure & materials, space & light, program & context, in a lateral-thinking, hands-on development process.

Through community partnerships, school-funded programs, and personal donations, Building Futures is able to offer free workshops focused on design and building solutions for real-world problems.

By actively working with our community’s youth, we hope to increase high school graduation rates, scholarship offerings and inspire others to carry on the mission that through creative thinking and problem-solving anything is possible.

There are many frameworks for personal-creativity to be expressed.

At Building Futures, we offer students space, tools, time, and teamwork to create their solutions for the future.