A community center is any place where members of a specific community or organization can come together for educational, social, and recreational purposes. Whether you are a volunteer for your town or neighborhood or want to come up with a space for your organization, having a fully functional and relaxing community center is crucial.
Here are some design tips and ideas for building one that is both efficient and aesthetically pleasing—one that the members of your community will surely appreciate.
Stairs for sitting
If your community center has more than one floor and limited seating space, why not opt for stairs that are specifically designed for seating, reading, and just relaxing in general? If there is enough space, you can divide the space into two so that those who need to go up and down have one lane where they won’t be bothered. Those who want to sit by the stairs can also do some reading and socializing. You can even opt to incorporate more storage between the stairs so that you have space for books, toys, pillows, throws, blankets, and everything else that will make your stairs look even cozier.
One example of a building that took advantage of this feature is this small bookstore in Slovakia, where the architects designed a climbing wooden floor that makes the space look like an auditorium. It’s a lovely way to encourage your community to read more, and it allows people to have a space to sit if the center is packed with people.
If the community center will be used primarily for social gatherings, instantly give the kitchen a modern update by incorporating a kitchen island. An island that allows for more seating opportunities and storage is one of the biggest marks of a modern residence, and your community center will have an even homier feel if it has a kitchen island. Look for concrete countertop materials to ensure that your island remains durable, stable, and resistant to heat. Opting for concrete will also help ensure that your island will be able to withstand plenty of wear and tear.
The kitchen island can also be a space for kids if there’s no more room in the main dining hall, and it will also provide some much-needed company for those who are in charge of cooking and cleaning.
If your community or organization was blessed enough to get its hands on a property with a massive yard, consider adding spaces for physical fitness, like a trampoline or even a basketball or tennis court. The whole point of community centers is to encourage the members of the community or the organization to be the best versions of themselves—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
So a place that encourages physical fitness is definitely key. If you don’t necessarily have the square footage, consider turning one of the rooms into a game room equipped with game consoles that motivate people to move their bodies. It’s a wonderful alternative—and one that will undoubtedly encourage the younger members to come to the community center more often.
Open, with lots of natural light
Natural light has been on trend for decades now, and it’s an architectural feature that will never go out of style. If the community center’s whole purpose is to encourage the members’ entire well-being, then it cannot be dim and stuffy. Natural light yields the following health benefits:
- Boosts Vitamin D
- Keeps seasonal depression at bay
- Helps improve sleep and the circadian rhythm
- Decreases health risks that come with artificial or fluorescent lighting
To let in more natural light into your community center, do the following:
- If possible, knock down some walls to add more windows
- Keep the windows big—like floor-to-ceiling big
- To create the illusion of a bigger space and to help light bounce off better, use lighter colors for the walls and furniture, and add some mirrors where you can
Moreover, we currently live with a virus that spreads faster in poorly ventilated areas. You want to ensure that your community center is as open and bright as possible, that it is properly ventilated, and that you have the option of opening the windows at any point.
If we want to strengthen our ranks and support and uplift one another during these difficult times, a community center can be a great way to do so. Consider building one for your neighborhood or organization, and let it be a safe space where everyone can be themselves and feel like they belong.