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East Falls Community Center

It is so important for people to have meaningful interaction with each other.  Being around others makes us happy  and helps us to grow.  Our community is often an outlet that allows us to do just that.  The importance of community is that it allows us to socialize with people who are different from ourselves making us more well-rounded people, but also better people.  A community center is a place of fellowship where we can connect with our neighbors about the things we have in common, for instance the love we have for our community!

Check out these videos on community development for more information:

 

Below is an example of an association using community to help alleviate some of the social issues in Calgary right now.  As you look, listen for the different benefits that community development can offer to create opportunities for people as well as creating a community that can do so much together as a whole.

Project Overview: East Falls Community Center

The importance of connecting those in the East Falls community with one another is one of the key focuses of this project.  The second is to provide a space where the children and students of the area can study and receive help with schoolwork in order to open a door to more opportunities in the future.  The intention is to create a place where both fun and education can combine as well as a new sense of familiarity with those who are apart of everyday life in East Falls. The design should be inviting and welcoming so that people of all different backgrounds feel safe and comfortable to work and socialize.  The design should be colorful and geared towards creating a light and airy environment to encourage visitors to express themselves openly and engage with their neighbors as much as possible. Users are likely to be largely children and students but also include adults and neighbors in East Falls, so health and safety precautions should be considered in the construction of the facility.  The structure should be designed to sustain all-year usage. Materials used should be strong and able to undergo impact for example during sports activities. Materials should also be chosen with consideration to the environment to promote sustainability and care.

What is the Goal?

For the few years that I have lived in East Falls, there haven’t been many opportunities for my community to come together and enjoy each other’s company.  I have lived here almost four years, and I cannot say that I know any of my neighbor’s names.  The community center that I am proposing would change that, and it would even give everyone the opportunity to meet people who don’t necessarily live on the same street as them.  Though this is a major issue, there is another issue that has been recognized nationwide.  The Philadelphia public school system is one of the worst in the entire country.  There are many factors that contribute to this failing education system like lack of resources, situations at home, poverty and multiple others.  The goal of this community center is not only to bring neighbors closer, but also to better the community in hopes to improve the greater Philadelphia area.  That begins with helping to educate students.  A community center provides a place for students to study and learn.  There is also a correlation between crime rates and drop out rates, and hopefully, by providing students to a community center, positive change will take affect and encourage students to stay in school.  Lack of resources and opportunities for students should be the last reason why students are not successful because that is one of its largest purposes: to provide support for all of its members, especially the youth.

Things to be Considered

site the physical site – the place – scale / building restrictions ? the neighboring spaces / buildings transport to and from – drop off or walking ? View from and/or view obscured by? , orientation to the sun? the historical context of the community – any way to link to this?
user groups

Adults – ?

employed / unemployed / parent groups ?

Elementary

Nursery level ?

Babies ?

Children – HS teenagers

MS level

younger?

Young People – upper HS levels post school early stages of social independence? Young families – young employed / entrepreneurs / young unemployed ?
needs Social – meeting others / educational / building or extending learning for work, life skills or academic achievement Social – activity based, community groups recreational arts/crafts/ music / dance / performance based, cinema, theatre Personal advancement – library, skillshare, ‘fab lab’ facilities, rental spaces, community media equipment – tv/radio/IT Personal recreational & Health – sports, gym, swimming pool, sauna, spa, health center, clinics, pharmacy Physical – facilities and access enabled to support those who may be differently able – blind, deaf, mental impairment, wheelchair

Images/Developmental Stage

Current Site: former hospital, dormant for years and ideal location for the community center because it is centrally located
 Developmental Stage

 

The primary design of the community center will be made out of shipping containers which is why the overall structure is the way that it is.  There are links to case studies at the end of this page, that can be referenced for an idea on what the community center may look like.  They were chosen not only for their use of shipping containers and colorful designs, but also their motivation to make their communities better.

Final design stage and Floor Plan

  

Interior of Final Design

Here is a link to my Google Doc which will show my process in creating the community center as well as determining what things were important to consider during the developmental process.  Towards the end of the document you can find my mood board and bubble diagrams, which inspired my design.
For more information on the importance of community, look at this website
Case Studies with similar designs and goals:

https://www.archdaily.com/482291/shanghai-community-cubes-included

http://architectureindevelopment.org/project.php?id=188

https://www.designboom.com/architecture/shigeru-ban-onagawa-temporary-container-housing-community-center/

https://newatlas.com/legson-kayira-community-center-primary-school/34855/

http://detroitcollisionworks.com/the-hotel/

Please provide your feedback in the following survey!  Thank you!

Questions?  You can reach me by email at tmckoy18@germantownfriends.org, and I would love to answer them!  Thank you!

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COMMENTS: 2
  1. April 30, 2018 by Cassie Delfini

    Hi Teasha! This was a great project. I love to read about things that I have no prior knowledge of! I love the drawings that you have displayed. I think it is really cool to help out the community in anyway you can. I always like to help the community!

    • April 30, 2018 by Teasha.McKoy

      Thank you very much. I appreciate that. Yeah, it turns out that a lot of people in my community agreed that this project was a good idea and really engaged in the survey that I sent them. So, that let me know that I was on the right track with this idea. Thanks again, and I appreciate your interest in my project!

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