“Nothing can launch here successfully without crucial buy-in from the community; that’s what makes it a true community center in service of the folks living here.” Wise words from Mr. James Moreland, who helped to organize last Saturday’s gathering for conversation between the architects and staff of Hefferlin+Kronenberg Architects. Neighbors signed in, received a survey to fill out, and were guided by Avondale Rec. Center staff and volunteers to one of the numbered tables with available space.

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Each numbered table had a display chart with the most recent mock-ups from H+K Architects, along with representative architects positioned to answer questions and gather input about what neighbors would like to have emphasized in the plans.

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Within each group, conversation and questions flowed both directions between Architects and center constituents, including landscape questions fielded by Lindsey Willke of WMWA Landscape Architects, partners in the Avondale plan.

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At the back of the open center, bulletin boards were prepared by Rondell Crier of Studio Everything to gather pinned up notes about the kinds of art and features the community wants to prioritize, notes which were often reinforced in another form in marker and as volunteers transcribed feedback in larger, more visible format, pasted up on office windows.

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It was exciting to witness so many neighbors sharing practical and creative ideas about what they’d like prioritized in their community center space. H+K Architects demonstrated their commitment to working with the community to create a design that is refreshing and new, and harmonious with the desires of those who use the Avondale YFD Center every day. The conducting of the feedback session is directly aligned with the community design work the Avondale youth participated in when they worked with Alex Gilliam of Public Workshop during his visit last September 2016 (sponsored by Footprint Foundation and AIA, in partnership with green|spaces) to begin envisioning a living space to create and play together.