The new Phoenix Revitalization Corporation Community Center, Offices and Garden will be a beacon of change and hope in Phoenix’s Central City South Neighborhood. The new center will revitalize vacant and underused land into a vibrant community destination that promotes health, connectivity between neighbors and generations, and economic development of small business start-ups. Located in a historically red-lined neighborhood, the majority of community members live below the poverty line and 66% of Phoenix public housing is located in the Central City South neighborhood. Vacant lots and deteriorated buildings pervade due to a combination of absentee owners not caring for their property as well as foreclosed and abandoned homes. Despite these struggles, the multi-generational neighborhood of approximately 17,000 residents is fortunate to have a blending of multiple cultures: Hispanic, African-American, Asian, and Anglo-American, with the largest proportion being younger Hispanics, all committed to the history and culture of the neighborhood. A strong community spirit pervades, illustrated in the work of the Phoenix Revitalization Corporation, committed to creating a better home for their neighbors and friends.
As such, the entire ground level of the Phoenix Revitalization Corporation’s new building is dedicated to the community. A courtyard plaza will host neighborhood gatherings and art shows. An outdoor amphitheater will schedule jazz and theater ‘in the park’ performances and family-oriented movies will be illuminated across the side of the building on warm spring evenings. In addition, a garden will address the community’s need for and commitment to healthy, fresh food. Inside the building will be an art gallery featuring the work of local artists as well as a tenant space for a small coffee shop, a third place for residents to walk to with their neighbor and gossip over muffin and a latte.
Located in a historically red-lined neighborhood, the majority of community members live below the poverty line and 66% of Phoenix public housing is located in the Central City South neighborhood.— .
Integral to the project are the incubator offices, necessary to inspire and support locally owned small businesses. A neighbor with a start-up art distribution business can lease an office for a nominal fee while gaining access to the expertise offered by the PRC as well as the print shop offering copiers and office supplies, included specifically to help neighborhood start-ups gain an economic foothold. In addition, the community center will be leasable space for community gatherings while also functioning as a high-tech conference room, an additional amenity for small local small businesses.
The second floor will house the PRC offices and a second tenant space – perhaps a live-work artist’s unit or a gym – looking out over the downtown Phoenix skyline with ample views and natural light. These second-story windows will serve a passive surveillance function as well. The Phoenix Revitalization Corporation’s work is well respected in the community and despite being located in a neighborhood with high crime rates, their current property has never been tagged. In their new building they will be able to keep a friendly and protective eye on the street. Their second floor offices will also project over the courtyard, creating a threshold as well as shade and weather protection for outdoor events expanding out from the community center.
In addition, the building is not only dedicated to the community, but is a direct expression of the community. The project’s program and design emerges from extensive charettes and discussions with the community and the PRC and is an extension of their vision and hard work. Through
an array of participatory design exercises that make design and planning fun, the design team led the PRC and the community through a series of programming, planning and design charettes to highlight and understand their community’s strengths and challenges. Each of these
were turned into opportunities seized throughout the project making it more than a new building for the Phoenix Revitalization Corporation, but an extension of their revitalization efforts within the community to whom they are committed.
Owner: Phoenix Revitalization Corporation
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Project Size: 8,000SF
Delivery Method: Design-Bid-Build
Currently in Fundraising
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