The Cooper Union
School of Architecture


This project for the New York City Housing Authority called for a 20,000 sf facility for sports, arts and crafts, and other family-oriented activities. The site, a playground, is within close proximity to the historic Williamsburg Houses, the first NYCHA project.

The design approach to this community center is based on two strategies, one concerning the community and the others regarding site particulars.

The site is at the intersection of two moments of urban thought, 19th c. fabric neighborhoods and housing object buildings of the 50’s. These important cultural and spatial forces form the concept of the building, which responds to them. The building’s outer envelope houses six free-standing, smaller "buildings" that house the programs, allowing a sense of fabric, street and public space to enter the skin, yet respond to the urban architecture of the adjacent housing. The center is thought of as safe, small neighborhood city. As a social concept, the center is a place where people and events flow, move, connect and communicate. The building literally opens itself up to the playgrounds of the rest of the site via full wall-length doors.

Professor, Proportional-Time Faculty