The community I live in seems to be divided into a few groups: high schoolers from the public school nearby, high schoolers from the Jewish school nearby, elementary school children, college students, and parents/people in their mid-30’s and above. The community lacks: good jobs, community involvement, litter control, and place for kids in the community to go on the weekend to keep them occupied. A lot of kids get wrapped up in things that are going on in the streets, so in order to keep them off the streets we need to give them something to do. Something besides sports. We need to sharpen their brains. Getting them more invested into their education by exposing them to programs like a book club or tutoring outside of school. This is why I want to redesign an older building in the middle of the community to become a community center. For the students listed above it would be good to have: quiet place for reading (a library area) and area technology for them to use because a lot of them cannot afford computers of their own. There would also be an indoor basketball court as well as an indoor dance room. Maybe even a few extra rooms to hold events like: music and art classes.
The photos in the slide show are Google Earth images of the site. This building is currently being rented out for a few art shows as well as haunted house for halloween. This is an extremely large brick building that is not being used to its full potential. I don’t want it to be just known as the big scary building that young kids go to. This is why I want to completely redesign the building and give it a clean and more modern look. My goal would not be to push the events that go on in this building out. But to maximize the space and create rooms and spaces that would allow more events to be able to happen. In one the pictures in the slide show you can see that this building for the most part is just a large open space. I would change that by adding upper levels to create community rooms for different classes and a library space.
The slide show above shows the stages of my design process. I started with a few sketches, then went with a physical model using a tissue box and a few other materials, and then lastly I designed my final model on the 3D modeling program SketchUp. The images not in the slide show are the floor plans for each level of the building. The community center I would create would be physical inviting. There will be large windows and a mixture of brick and light paint for the siding. This will be one of the reasons why kids would come in. But the main draw would be the classes that would be taking place inside the building (art, dance, and reading clubs), the library and quiet reading spaces, and the indoor basketball court.
The first room you see in the SketchUp model on the ground level (F1) would be used as an office space for the people would work there. The room above the office would be used as multiple purpose room (F2). Many of the different classes that would meet on specific days of the week (art, music, dance) would be held there. The 2nd floor is the technology area (F3) and the third level is the library level that would be the home to a warm, cozy, and bright area for reading (F4). The transparent grey sections shown on the front and sides of the building are large windows that let in natural light into each space. I want natural light for a plethora of reasons: to make the space seem open, to make the space seem friendly, and to make the space seem larger. On the ground level of the center you can also see there are tables placed for snack or family lunches. Behind those tables is the locker room and basketball court. The walls around the court would be padded with sound proofing pads.
Outside I decided to take off the original portion of the building that was protruding on the right side. I thought it would be necessary because I wanted there to be a community garden space on the right side of the building that added more beauty and brightness into the community. There would be a picnic table seating area on the left side of the building. I wanted to change the brick of the building because it wasn’t inviting, so I decided to paint it a light mustard color with green and brown accent colors. I decided to use these earthy tones because I thought they were simple, but looked elegant next to one another. The inside of the building is painted a light turquoise color because I wanted a pigment that I could use that wouldn’t over power the space or make it feel small.
These two buildings (the first a community center, the second an office building) inspired me to add the large windows on each level to really open the space up to the bustling community around it.
Below are some articles I found that highlight the importance of community centers.
Call to action.
Some food for thought!
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Comment below some feedback. Tell me about your local community center and share this project!