Gary Comer Youth Center: Enriching The Lives Of Budding Young Champions
Gary Comer Youth center is located in the Grand Crossing neighborhood in Chicago. It is a wonderful architecture done by John Ronan Architects. Constructed in the year 2006, it is spread over the area of 75000 square feet.
The area around the Southside neighborhood was isolated a few years back. There were no community centers where the youth could spend their time and learn new things.
Gary Comer was also born and raised in the Southside neighborhood so he decided that he should donate some amount of his wealth back to his community. For this, he planned out to make a new home building for the South Shore Drill Team that was a good name and few among the strong youth programs of the locality.
Gary then hired John Ronan and they both started working on the project, the project got completed in 2006 and it cost $30 million. The building now offers numerous activities for the budding young generation.
Design and Architecture
The three-floored main building has a huge space to accommodate a big gathering and different activities can be carried out at the same time in the building. There is a big tower of 80-foot height which is clearly visible even from a distance. This tower shows the news and announcements of the upcoming events and programs that are going to take place at the youth center with its LED panel.
The building has a color of red and blue on the exterior wall and numerous glass panels can be witnessed from outside. In the interior, one can see the glass panels between the different chambers and rooms. This allows transparency and creates a feeling of unity and brotherhood in the community. In most of the activity rooms, one can see the wooden flooring.
Elegant lighting in the center makes it look beautiful at night. It is well maintained and the cleaning work takes place regularly which makes it look modern, beautiful, and clean. Vibrant colors are used in the various activity rooms which enhance its beauty.
The architecture of the youth center is rectangular in shape with the different activity rooms spread across the center. Its plan was created in such a way that an innovative building with modern facilities and arrangements can be made such that the lives of the youth can be enhanced and enriched in the best way.
What activities are carried out here?
There are many activities carried out at this center. Programs for the South Shore Drill Team are conducted here. There is a group of 300 children aged eight to eighteen who perform before the audience here; many stage shows are conducted by this group throughout the year at this center. Apart from this, many youth educational and recreational programs are conducted on a regular basis.
The main space of the building can be converted into a gymnasium and into a theatre in no time. Isn’t it amazing to see a gym getting converted into a stage performance theatre? This helps to save the space and it can be utilized both as a theatre room and a gym.
This is the space where the educational and recreational youth programs take place. This is the only place where computer labs, arts and crafts rooms, dance rooms, office and exhibition space, and other activities take place. There is an adjoined cafeteria to the gym.
There is a roof garden, it has about 25 inches of soil. This garden is used for outdoor classes where students are taught about the horticultural programs. It brings coolness to the building’s environment and temperature also reduces a lot.
This garden serves as a space for the practical learning of the students. Here, food plants are grown, students learn how to plant a seed, water it, put the fertilizer and pesticides, and carefully learn the complete lifecycle of the growth of plants.
These foods that are grown in the plants are then used in the cooking classes that take place in the building. Another very special point about the garden is the rainwater harvesting facility. Rainwater is collected, purified, and stored in water tanks. This creates an ecological balance within the building.
The wonderful design and architecture of this youth center led Ronan and the center both a distinguished building award from the AIA, Chicago chapter in 2007. Apart from this, it has got a lot of appreciation from varied people and personalities from different walks of life for its enriching activities that are building a prosperous future for the youth.
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