Story

Elevating Communities Through Inclusive Placemaking

Focus Area Community Centers

Exterior of wood and glass municipal building surrounded by native Central Texas landscaping.

Places made for communities achieve the greatest impact when the planning and design process is as inclusive as their intended purpose

An inclusive process starts with the community itself. The best engagements result from getting to know the embedded leaders and local advocates and seeking their help to organize participation to include representatives from each facet of the community. With their experience we can consider timing, location, and duration of events to achieve the broadest reach.

How we listen and gather ideas is also hugely important. We provide a variety of ways to join in, using tools that build excitement for the project potential while making interactive discussions and exercises accessible and fun. Focusing on the key considerations that will most directly affect the target community is critical to make the process meaningful and build a genuine sense of ownership over the duration of project planning.

Effective community spaces reflect a deep understanding of people, place and context. Direct collaboration with the community itself is fundamental to achieving authentic places.

Services

  • Architecture
  • Branding / Graphics
  • Building Sciences
  • Civic / Government
  • Engineering
  • Interiors
  • Planning / Urban Design
  • Strategies / Analytics

Leveraging local strengths

East Aldine residents have a proud history of spirited entrepreneurship and craft. Local leaders invited BakerRipley to help build on this strength and provide resources to educate, support, and empower the community. Collaborating closely with BakerRipley, Page welcomed community members directly into the design process. Photos of vibrant local places drove color choices, and teams of residents helped to plan the site layout and organization.

Aerial view of a campus of several metal buildings forming the outline of a horseshoe.
© Peter Molick
Fabrication lab with tables, seats and maker supplies
© Peter Molick

The resulting BakerRipley East Aldine Economic Opportunity Center leverages local social capital and provides resources to help local families achieve financial stability. A free “fab lab” trains users on the latest digital fabrication tools, while a commercial kitchen with café incubates culinary businesses. Classrooms and multipurpose spaces support a range of services, classes and events, including summer camps and teen leadership programs.

Extending a sense of community

The design of Avenue Center, a community hub that includes a homeownership support center, health, education and workforce services, is inspired by the vibrant cultural fabric of the area. The design team sought to meld form and function, creating a distinctive beacon to the community’s future through the use of culturally relatable color, materials and space.

Social connectivity

Thanks to the internet, smart phones and social networks, our society is more connected than ever before. Despite this, surveys by Kaiser Family Foundation and Cigna reveal that a significant number of Americans report persistent loneliness, which can have serious physical and mental health consequences. Community centers provide structured opportunities for the development of relationships, which improve the social fabric of the community.

© Casey Dunn Photography

On campuses or multi-building facilities such as the City of Buda Municipal Complex, Page design teams strive to create multiple points of connection between destinations, using pedestrian paths, public gathering spaces and even leveraging transportation avenues to create welcoming and productive user experiences.

Cost consciousness

Page collaborated with the contractor and client on a non-profit center funded by capital campaign donations to maximize efficiency in design choices. The resulting facilities were built with pre-engineered structures and metal building wall systems. The use of slab foundations allowed the surfaces to be polished and serve as low-maintenance ground floors.

Inside a cafe with floor to ceiling glass windows, two people sit at an island table and a man gets a drink from a countertop machine.
© Peter Molick

What do people need? Try asking them.

  • 5,000 CLIENTS SERVED ANNUALLY BY AVENUE
  • 1,112 EQUIVALENT OF TREES PLANTED THROUGH A SUSTAINABLE DESIGN
  • 260 YEAR OLD HERITAGE LIVE OAK TREE SUCCESSFULLY TRANSPLANTED
  • 7 CIVIC FUNCTIONS PROVIDED AT CITY OF BUDA MUNICIPAL COMPLEX

Testimonial

Brand new but already belongs to the community

“Our goal – and I think we succeeded – was to create a distinctive beacon to the community’s future that is connected through the use of color, materials and space to the generations who shaped the area’s culture.”

Marcus Martinez

Page Associate Principal / Design

More Info

Need help finding something?

Let's collaborate on your upcoming project

Contact