Boys & Girls Club Wellington Heights

Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Client
    Boys & Girls Club
  • SQ. FT.
  • Budget
  • Market
  • Year

A new Boys & Girls Club in an underprivileged neighborhood of Cedar Rapids, Iowa embodies the organization’s mission to enable all young people to reach their full potential by providing a much needed safe place.  The clubhouse embraces and elevates its neighborhood through transparent design and a program to meet the community with the spaces they need the most — a gymnasium, classrooms, game room with teen center, and cafeteria.

The design maximizes both the construction budget and long-term operational budgets through simple massing, durable materials, and efficient systems. The gymnasium drives the building’s overall footprint and mass with classrooms along the west elevation and a game room with teen spaces along the south.  A first-floor cafeteria and second-floor collaboration area form the core of the building and allow for other functions to spill into the space as needed, supporting long-term flexibility.

An entry on the southeast corner creates an opportunity for a front porch along the club’s street presence that pays homage to the porches of the surrounding neighborhood. The porch canopy also doubles as a sunshade to minimize heat gain and glare through the full-height glass in the game room. The windows reveal activity within the building’s busiest spaces, announcing and encouraging the buildings use to welcome the community in. Glass insertions inside connect the recreation area to the cafeteria and common spaces to the gymnasium beyond.

The design team is currently studying concepts for the building interior and how it interacts with the exterior.  In one scheme, bold colors throughout contrast with the white glazed brick exterior and neutral interior surfaces and a mural inspired by the neighborhood wraps from the inside out. An alternative concept explores a singular exterior material of white glazed brick, but adds warmth on the interior with wood slat walls in lieu of the mural.

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