2013 Recipient | AIA/HUD Secretary's Awards

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Community Learning Center | Notes of Interest

This 2,000-square-foot facility, built on the edge of a public housing development, was only possible through the efforts and contributions of students, teachers, residents, alumni, builders, and suppliers, all coordinated and overseen by the architecture firm.

The local housing authority received a grant to cover half the cost of the facility and made arrangements with the nearby vocational/technical high school to provide the labor and drafting. The architects helped participants develop the building program, ensured that the project met the exacting standards of the funder, and worked with the teenage crew to bring design sketches into reality.

The building is clad in multicolored fiber-cement panels with articulated aluminum joints. South-facing windows at the front entry provide passive solar heating in the winter, and deep overhangs and deciduous trees provide summer shade. The interior is a single, subtly articulated space that one teacher can monitor. Particleboard partitions, composed of recycled content, mark individual study areas. Light floods in from all sides, and sliding doors with glazed perforations provide acoustical privacy for story telling or conferences. The building can accommodate a number of functions, including meetings for 50 or more.

Additional Credit

  • Architect - Landscape: Schreiber Associates
  • Builder: Leominster High School Center for Technical Education
  • Color Consultant: THEREdesign
  • Engineer - MEP: Norian/Siani Engineering
  • Engineer - Structural: Souza True and Partners
  • Funder: MA Department of Housing and Community Development
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Photo Credit

  • ©  Chuck Choi 

Community Learning Center

Category Three: Community-Informed Design Award

Jury Comments

This level of craftsmanship out of a volunteer construction project is fantastic.

They took a high school student’s design and made it work. Simple materials were used but they make whimsical gestures.

2013 AIA/HUD Secretary's Awards Jury

  • Kathleen Dorgan, AIA, Chair
  • Dorgan Architecture & Planning
  • Storrs, Connecticut
  • Luis Borray, Assoc. AIA
  • U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Elizabeth A. Cocke
  • U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development
  • Washington, D.C.
  • John Isch, AIA
  • RWA Architects, Inc.
  • Cincinnati
  • R. Thomas Jones, AIA
  • California Polytechnic State University
  • San Luis Obispo, California
  • Stephen Sharpe, Hon. AIA
  • Austin, Texas
  • Charles L. Travis, AIA
  • The Housing Studio, P.A.
  • Charlotte

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