JCJ Architecture and Leong Leong Unveil Design for Asian Americans for Equality's New Center for Community and Entrepreneurship
NEW YORK, NY JCJ Architecture and Leong Leong unveil the design of the Center for Community and Entrepreneurship, a new mixed-use community building for the non-profit organization Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE). Expected to be complete in 2018, the 90,000-square-foot, seven-story building will be located at the corner of College Point Boulevard and 39th Avenue in Flushing, Queens.
Since its inception in 1974 as an equal rights advocacy group, AAFE has worked tirelessly to provide a range of support services - such as affordable housing, counseling and financial assistance, and community development - to enrich the lives of Asian Americans and others in need throughout New York City.
"JCJ's core belief is that strong design builds communities, and it is truly inspiring to bring a structure to life that is completely in concert with AAFE's mission," said Peter Bachmann, Principal and Institutional Market Leader at JCJ Architecture, which serves as the Executive Architect on the project. "This mission inspired JCJ and Leong Leong to design a progressive building form modeled after the concept of holding hands and interweaving fingers - a physical presence to match the social symbol for community empowerment."
"The goal of this project was unique from the start: to create a vertically-integrated community for Flushing that seamlessly links work, events, and the public. The informal spaces of circulation become primary spaces for interaction and exchange - we turned the architectural promenade into an vertical interface that blends public space and work space," said Chris Leong, partner at Leong Leong. "We are in new paradigm of urbanism where the interconnectivity between spaces of collaboration and the city is critical," added Dominic Leong, partner at Leong Leong.
AAFE's Center for Community and Entrepreneurship will express a clear progression of growth; as one advances in the community, one also moves up in the building.
"¢ A sweeping outdoor plaza, designed as an interface to the surrounding neighborhood, connects a 5,000-square-foot public market to the street.
"¢ On the second level, a flexible, multi-purpose event space can be configured for community programs, meetings, exhibitions and performances. Large doors open onto a terrace, allowing the event space to expand to the exterior.
"¢ On the third floor, Flushing's first business incubator will provide co-working space for local small businesses and start-ups to collaborate with one another.
"¢ AAFE's Flushing program offices will be located on the fourth floor, and office spaces available to emerging and established businesses - potentially those from the incubator - will occupy floors five through seven.
"¢ A 3-story open staircase functions as a vertical interface between floors encouraging collaboration and interaction among its varied users. At the ground floor, the staircase provides terraced seating for the public market. On the second and third floor, the staircase can transform into an event and performance space for screenings, lectures and other community-based events.
Four interlocking structures with outdoor terraces each corresponding to the public market space, event space, incubator space, and office space give the building its distinct form. This form is articulated by a gradient of vertical transparencies that emphasize its distinct silhouette. The more transparent lower two floors contain the most public programs and support direct engagement with the neighborhood at street level. As the programs become more private on the upper floors, the exterior becomes more opaque while still internally supporting views of the city and the Flushing Creek waterfront.