January 2019—During the 2018 fall semester, students in the University of Texas School of Architecture were met with a unique challenge as they partnered with BGCAA to design concept Club spaces inspired by the opening of our new Home Club, along with feedback from our very own Club members. Students rose to the challenge with thoughtful, expertly designed spaces.
UT students initially met with BGCAA administrative and Club staff, along with CEO Misti Potter for a debrief on their project early in the semester. Prepared with questions, they set about the task of establishing the priorities for the new Home Club, with a goal to design a spec site with previously discussed parameters in mind. The challenge: find innovative ways to meet the needs of a very important youth population in Austin—and do so in one large space that is intended to accommodate kids age 6 all the way up to teens age 18.
Armed with a list of questions and ultimately outfitted with a plethora of stories about the undeniable impact of Boys & Girls Clubs on members, Architecture students then visited Club sites. Input from the kids at the sites ultimately fed the projects more profoundly than any, which only proved that these students were hearing their client loud and clear.
In an arena of walls adorned with schematics, renderings, samples, and layouts, with scale models besides, students pitched their final projects to BGCAA administrative and Club staff. No small detail went unnoticed. Club entrances beckoned for kids to retreat into their safe and fun personalized space. Recreation areas were designed for inclusivity and multi-purpose use. Study areas and social areas alike were laid out for optimal enjoyment.
Meanwhile, the timing was impeccable, as BGCAA was embarking on the late stages of completing the build on its first Austin-area Home Club facility and campus, slated to open in late April of 2019. While UT Architecture students may not have been designing for immediate implementation, the ideas gleaned from the process proved to be a foundation for future opportunities. At the very least, we wish them all luck in their educational pursuits. Sincere appreciation to all who participated for the obvious work and passion that went into this collaboration.
Special appreciation to a couple of individuals who made this collaboration possible, as well as to all the students who participated: Julie Schell, Executive Director of Extended and Executive Education, UT School of Design and Creative Technologies, Collage of Fine Arts, and to Tamie Glass, ASID, IIDA, RID, Associate Professor at the UT School of Architecture.