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Motivated to provide vital education, recreation and training services to the underserved citizenry of the south ward of Newark, New Jersey, the Newark Housing Authority aspired to design a facility that would be a social collector; a place where neighbors could gather, exercise, and receive educational training to improve their chances for gainful employment in a rapidly transforming digital-based economy. The building’s triangular form results from the shifted urban grid where it meets Weequahic Park, an Olmsted-designed landscape set within the south ward of Newark. Inspired by the shift in the urban grid, the building’s expression is two slipping triangular forms set side by side. One triangle is solid and contains recreation, fitness, and meditation spaces. One triangle is transparent and contains education and community meeting spaces. The slipping triangles give the community center an iconic appearance within its neighborhood and meets the Newark Housing Authority’s project goal to create a beacon of hope within this wilting neighborhood of public housing. This modest architectural and urban intervention reinvents its neighborhood, reinvigorates its citizenry, and ultimately changes their future by providing them access to the programs and tools they need to succeed in a rapidly changing digital world within a modest building that engenders productivity, connectedness and positive change.

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