Nestled in a revitalized area near downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, this community center for the City of Raleigh replaces a nondescript 1970’s-era facility that had outlived its ability to support the growing community. New needs and goals were established through an assessment and feasibility study consisting of workshops, public surveys, and input from community stakeholders.

The new design makes optimal use of the site to provide a gymnasium, multipurpose classroom, fitness room, and office space, as well as an exterior playground and basketball court. The outdoor spaces connect the street to the building, ensuring visibility and safety for staff and visitors, while preserving a large oak tree in front of the building. The design team worked closely with artist Christopher Fennel to integrate a large interactive sculpture called “Hoops Playing Hoops” that engages the community.

The new facility cultivates community through visual transparency. Activity visible within and outside the facility entices neighbors to become a part of the action. In contrast with the previous facility, the design deliberately achieves an immediately recognizable entrance. The sweep of the roof opens toward visitors and announces the primary entry point. Layers of transparency offer exterior views through multiple spaces, facilitate visual control by staff, and provide ample natural light. In the evening, this visibility reverses, as the center becomes a glowing beacon.

Designed to achieve LEED Silver certification, the community center’s sustainable features include solar shading devices and high-efficiency glazing, reflective roofing materials, sensors to optimize energy and water consumption, and a rainwater collection cistern for landscape irrigation.

Awards
2017 Sir Walter Raleigh Community Award