INAR 210- 220 Integral Interior Design Studio I-II YOUTH CENTER Gary Comer Youth Center, Chicago, IL http://www.discoverdesign.org/discover/skin • The Gary Comer Youth Center stands in the south side of Chicago. The building was designed primarily as the home for the South Shore Drill team - a precision performance troop made up of local teens who march in parades and at events. architect John Ronan designed this new building to include many different spaces for kids and teens in the community to use after school, including: a gym, stage, art center, recording studio, dance studio, classrooms, gardens, library, and a kitchen. The six design process steps 1. Define the Problem it was originally planned give the South Shore Drill Team a place to practice. But in this tough Chicago neighborhood, many of the kids and teens did not have a safe place to go after school, so Mr Comer also wanted to do something for these students. • Plans for the building were soon expanded into a neighborhood youth center that provided after school programs, education, and a fun and safe place to hang out. 2. Collect Information • many of the users did not want the new building to include any windows, because they were worried about neighborhood violence and drive-by shootings. • The big challenge for the architect became: How do you design a building that is secure - without a lot of glass at street level - while also keeping the building light, airy, and fun? This building couldn't be a bunker. It needed to be a place that kids would want visit. • Ronan continued to interview the future users of the building - adult leaders and students - as well as Gary Comer himself. Ideas for the building became larger and complex as new spaces were planned. He and the architects in his office also visited the future site of the building many times, taking photos and measurements to better understand the existing conditions. 3. Brain storm ideas • Once John Ronan and the other architects in his office had gathered information about the building's function and heard from the users about their needs, the early design work began. • lots of ideas that are constantly changing and being reviewed again and again. Ronan did quick sketches and the staff members built quick study models to understand the overall shape of the building. At the beginning of the process, they looked at many different schemes very quickly. Developing these 10 plans very quickly, allowed the design team to come up with many possible schemes. • The first idea isn't always the best idea 4. Develop Solutions One of the biggest solutions that needed to be developed, was to determine the exterior materials of the building. The 'skin' of the building is one of the most distinctive features of the Gary Comer Youth Center. • In the end, red and blue fiber cement panels reinforced with glass fibers were used as the 'skin' of the building. 5. Feedback • Plans for the building were constantly changing and the architects frequently talked with the owner and the users to hear their feedback. • Finally, the one that made the most sense for the users was to place the Drill Team practice space in the middle and wrap the other functions around the outside. 6. Final Design The final design for the building is bright and colorful, signaling to the community residents and kids that this is a safe, inviting, and fun place to be. At night, the tiny slit windows glow and appear to punch through the skin of the building. While the sidewall level walls are more solid, the upper floors have much more glass. These rooms - the dance studio, the art studio, and a few classrooms - have lots of natural light A large open space in the center of the building has two main functions. Auditorium seating facing a stage can be retracted into the wall to free up space for the gym and drill team practice. 7. Build it • • The steel skeleton of the building is constructed first. Then, structural concrete panels create the walls. Insulation is added next, followed by glass and the brightly colored fiber cement panels that hang off the steel frame. On the roof garden level, the concrete structure is covered with a waterproofing membrane before the earth fill is added. Overview http://www.wbdg.org/design/youth_centers.php • The Youth Center is a social and recreational center that supports opportunities for youth to develop their physical, social, emotional, and cognitive abilities and to experience achievement, leadership, enjoyment, friendship, and recognition. • The Youth Center offers organized instructional programs for physical activities such as dance, yoga, and martial arts and for academic and arts programs such as science, crafts, and theater. It also offers opportunities for unstructured activities such as game playing, socializing, club meetings, and outdoor play. • While unstructured activities are an essential part of a Youth Center, these are staffed facilities and control and supervision are critical elements. These elements impact facility design as do considerations for youth-friendly and youth-appealing design. Safety is also of paramount importance. Building Attributes A. Space Types and Building Organization • A Youth Center serves the dual purpose of accommodating unstructured social interaction among different age groups and providing instructional classes all in a safe, supervised environment. This drives the facility layout and functional space adjacencies. Typical Youth Center activity spaces include the following: Control desk/check-in Commons/game room Snack bar Activity rooms/classrooms Multipurpose room/gymnasium Computer room Teen room and Outdoor activity areas. Typical Youth Center support spaces include the following: Administrative office space Toilets and janitor facilities Kitchen and Mechanical/electrical/communications space. B. Design Considerations • Create a Homelike Environment • • • • • Provide ample natural light Provide a sense of welcome and arrival at the entrance, lobby, and control desk Use residential-style doors and windows Use indirect lighting as main ambient lighting, and Avoid institutional, unnatural finishes, textures, and colors. • Encourage Creativity • • • • • Carefully consider interior colors and textures. Design the Youth Center to communicate a sense of fun, but use restraint (e.g., neutral tones for backgrounds and ceilings, with warm colors for accents). Consider wall murals in some common areas. Particularly for the teen room, consider guiding a teen focus group to select an interior color scheme Provide space and consider various techniques to display and celebrate youth artwork, and Design display areas to be easily changed and updated, minimize permanent graphics • Encourage Autonomy • Youth centers are not schools. While supervision must be maintained at all times, the design should accommodate autonomy in the unstructured activity areas. The youth patrons should have independent access to the following: • Snack bar and toilets • Games, computers, and TV • Friends and companions, and • Quiet space for solitude. • Include Appropriate Space for Staff • Provide space to assist staff in developing and maintaining the center's programs and business. Outside of normal day-to-day operations, staff must be able to accomplish the following: • Think and plan • Meet and communicate • Host visitors, and • Store equipment and records. • Maintain a Safe and Healthy Environment • • • • • • • Design the facility to accommodate equipment and operational strategies to both protect the youth and maintain a healthy environment. Consider the following critical elements: Prevent unauthorized access by potentially dangerous personnel Provide visual access to all spaces to monitor potential child abuse situations Provide easily-cleaned finishes Use non-toxic building materials and improved maintenance practices Ensure good indoor air quality and abundant natural light, and Ensure that equipment, furnishings, and finishes do not contain asbestos or lead.