Afterschool Specials
Cool design is modernizing youth community centers around the globe
Life / 31 Aug 2011
As youth services face funding cuts, a looming downscaling of community centers has the potential to erode not only local youth culture but also the bonds of family. Some believe that the recent UK riots were a direct result of the disenfranchisement of British youth. Hopefully reversing the trend is a spate of new modern youth centers that strive to offer teens more appealing places to gather than the local convenience store.
Pharrell Williams Youth Center: After conquering music and fashion, Pharrell Williams latest creative venture is a youth center in his hometown of Virginia Beach. Grateful to his childhood teachers whom he believes lent him the confidence that made him a success, Williams is endeavoring to return the favor by providing young people with a place where they can explore their artistic sides. In collaboration with renowned architect Chad Oppenheim, he plans to create an eco-friendly, tree house-inspired space that serves as a metaphor for fantasy becoming reality. A target completion date has yet to be announced, but the project already has secured backing from Kiehl’s.
Manhattan Bridge Skatepark Revitalization
: Coleman Oval Park, better known as the Manhattan Bridge Skatepark, is known by many New Yorkers as an unkempt skate rat hangout. However, with the recent announcement that Architecture for Humanity and Nike have awarded 5boro Skateboards founder Steve Rodriguez a Gamechangers grant to revitalize the park, that is all set to change. The project will see an overhaul of the park from the ground up, including a new concrete slab, innovative obstacles, skate-able furniture, and opportunities for local vendors and community partners. The forthcoming changes hope to make the space not only safe and design-friendly, but also an international skateboarding destination.
Factoría Joven
: At-risk youth in Merida, Spain now have a design-conscious space in which to hang out, thanks to local firm Selgascano Architects. The husband-and-wife design duo met with local officials to ensure that kids who typically roam the streets have an appealing place to convene. Factoría Joven (Youth Factory) is both aesthetically pleasing and conducive to activities as disparate as skateboarding, rock climbing, and graffiti. Kids have access to a computer lab, dance studio and rooms for theatre, music, and video production. It may not be considered ‘a monument’ to architecture given its budget restraints, but it nonetheless demonstrates the utmost respect for the young people it serves.
©The Intelligence Group