Built over 60 years ago, the Washington Community Center is the main location for Union Settlement’s Youth Services programming. The renovation transforms a worn and outdated 11,000 SF facility into a bright, colorful, and welcoming space for the community with new classrooms, offices, and public spaces as well as updated building systems and windows.
Rejecting the notion that a limited budget means limited design, the project focused on creating a few select high-impact interventions throughout the building. The previously hard to find entry was relocated, enlarged and glass enclosed to welcome passersby to see into communal areas and the new expanded reception area, encouraging more access and participation. Naturally illuminated interiors, a central skylight and transparent circulation routes create a bright and healthy environment and allow for views between key programs. A fully upgraded Seniors’ center offers an enhanced connection to the outdoors.
Durable and economical materials like plywood and cork were introduced throughout — using them in unexpected ways as well as colorful strategic
wayfinding to reinforce the community center’s vibrant culture.