Motivated to provide vital education, recreation and training services to the underserved citizenry 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 training to improve their chances for gainful employment in a rapidly transforming digital-based economy.
The building’s form, which is that of two slipping triangles set side by side, results from the shifted urban grid where the site meets Weequahic Park, an Olmsted-designed landscape set within the south ward of Newark. One triangle is solid and contains recreation, fitness and meditation spaces. The other is transparent and contains education and community meeting spaces. The luminous container is a beacon of hope and a pleasant place to gather, learn and play. The modest architectural 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.