To serve a densely populated and multiracial urban neighborhood, this new recreation, social, and learning center for young people re-imagines an abandoned ice hockey rink.
The original rink was an open-air structure covered by long-span bowstring trusses, with a small enclosed brick head house for locker rooms. By demolishing only the head house and building a new gymnasium on its foundations, two-thirds of the open-air structure was retained, enclosed, and reoccupied with game rooms, a teen lounge, a library, an art room, and a teaching kitchen. The broad promenade between activity spaces makes use of the very wide building footprint and reveals the shed’s original trusses and a new skylight.
The gymnasium is a simple rectangular volume, its ground-face concrete block presenting the principal façade of the building to the community. A light roof cap of steel trusses and clerestory windows brings in natural light by day and emits a warm, inviting glow at night. Signaling the main public entrance from the street, a colorful steel canopy wraps around a slender steel column topped with a beacon of light. The canopy links the three principal volumes- entry zone, gymnasium, and clubhouse.
Executed with extreme resourcefulness, and an economy of means on a limited budget, the recreation, social and education community center has an active and positive neighborhood presence. It is designed as a proud new community landmark that offers a safe, durable and lively environment for its young people.