Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Boston Kroc Community Center in Boston, MA by The Architectural Team
April 9th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
Located in Boston’s economically challenged Dorchester neighborhood, the project was built on a 6 acre urban site composed of 54 parcels bought from city and private owners. The project occupies both sides of Dudley Street, with the building, outdoor playgrounds, gardens and parking on the north side and an athletic field on the south. The project site is serviced extensively by public transportation, including five MBTA bus lines and a recently renovated train platform, through which a million-plus people pass monthly on commuter rail.
Kroc Center project is the largest private, nonprofit social-services investment in New England and the largest community center in Massachusetts. The Center provides five major program zones: culinary arts; education and learning; performing arts; fitness; and aquatics. Each of the program zones includes spaces and activities designed for all users, from children under three to neighborhood teens to senior citizens. Specific spaces include a 300-seat dining hall and fully integrated teaching kitchen, a café, a gymnasium sized for an NCAA regulation basketball court, ropes course and climbing wall space, a large recreational swimming pool with current channel, lap lanes, zero-depth entry play area, an indoor/outdoor slide, and access to the outdoor sprayground, cardio and weight fitness equipment area, changing rooms, a computer lab, teen lounge, library, classrooms, art room, senior lounge, babysitting room, four community meeting rooms, and a 300-seat chapel/theater with a sound and audio recording studio.
The Architectural Team worked closely with the Salvation Army and the community to configure the program components appropriately on the site as part of the master planning services for the project. Locating the building directly on Dudley Street and the parking in the rear of the site helped to reinforce the urban characteristics of the project and the neighborhood. The building façade is a contemporary assemblage of larger and smaller scale volumes, sympathetic to the size, scale and traditional building materials of the surrounding neighborhood context. The project massing at Dudley sand Burgess Streets was arranged to reduce the apparent length of the over 400 foot long building. The facades are composed of ground faced block, metal panel and brick, mixing contemporary and traditional materials to provide durability and texture. Extensive glazing was used on the north and south facades both to take advantage of natural light in the interiors and to provide a strong visual connection between the program spaces and the surrounding neighborhood.
The interior design of the Kroc Center focuses on brightly colored, open spaces with visual connections between programs and lots of natural light. A highly efficient, fluid interior architecture was developed to maximize program space, with as few hallways as possible and more open circulation zones for community interaction. An effort was made to draw the community into the building interior with the use of exterior light fixtures in the lobbies and corridors and broad curving patterns sweeping through the interior and exterior spaces. Interior visibility was critical to this sense of community connectedness and as an expression of vast opportunity. From the main lobby one can see into all of the main program spaces, including a 26 foot glass wall to the pool with a great view of the slide and water play areas. Visually, the classroom spaces are connected to the performing arts area, the chapel is connected to fitness and the gym program, and the lobby serves as a central hub to all of the programs – all of which is intended to promote integration of programs and creative thinking about how various aspects of the community, a persons experiences and the Kroc Center work together to strengthen an individual and the neighborhood. The open nature of the building also helps to reduce staffing by increasing the effective coverage of individuals supervising the spaces while also increasing safety and security. In areas like the Education suite central staff offices with windows allow views of all program areas, including the teen lounge, computer lab and classrooms. Much of the color palette of the finishes in the building is bright and vibrant, reflecting the ethnic and cultural styles of the diverse neighborhood and community. At the same time, spaces like the Peace Chapel, Senior Lounge and Chapel / Theater include richer and more formal finishes to convey an appropriate level of sophistication and styling.
Well known in Boston and nationally for design excellence and commitment to responsive and collaborative client relationships, The Architectural Team, Inc. has developed a portfolio of distinctive design solutions for a broad range of building types and programs, and has earned more than 75 awards for design excellence. These include the new construction of large urban mixed-use developments, residential, commercial, hospitality, recreational, and academic facilities, as well as a
The Architectural Team is designing one of eight new Salvation Army community centers in the northeastern United States that have received an endowment from the Ray and Joan Kroc Foundation. The Salvation Army Kroc Center will be built in the Uphams Corner area of Dorchester, becoming one of Boston’s largest and most comprehensive community centers, and will include both indoor and outdoor space. The program includes a multi-court gymnasium, indoor running track, aquatics center with a recreational pool, a 250-seat chapel/community theater, a 300-seat dining area with a commercial kitchen and culinary arts teaching kitchen, a fitness area with exercise and dance studios, an arts and education center, and a Family Enrichment Program with babysitting services. The Center will also include outdoor spoets field s and court, a playground and water playground.
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Category: Community Centre
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