Public School System in Cleveland
Over the last decade, Cleveland has been trying to rebuild East Cleveland and its school system. Cleveland’s public school system has struggled with funding and overall education. In 2017 and in past years, Cleveland earned an F on the State Report Card. Currently, schools in East Cleveland and other districts have been taken over by the state. The current plan is to give public schools more money, especially those with students in poverty.
It isn’t a coincidence that the area of East Cleveland is one of the poorest areas in the city. While this solution is great, it is still fairly new. The neighborhoods that exist today are products of Cleveland’s history of redlining and segregation. While more money can help the schools, I wanted to focus on a solution that would directly impact the student’s lives.
Inspiration for a Youth Center
I came across an interview on Ellen, about a man named Akbar Cook. Mr. Cook is a Principal of Westside High School in New Jersey. He found that one of the main reasons why his students weren’t showing up to school was because of their school uniforms were dirty. His solution was to buy washing and drying machines for the school, so students could wash their uniforms. Mr. Cook brought up the point that having children focus on school while they are worrying about what food they are going to eat and whether they can wash their clothes. This gave me the inspiration to design a place where kids could be supported in in their academics but also be taught life skills.
Youth Center Goals
The goal for the youth center is to give young adults a place where they can gain the support and knowledge to thrive. Some other goals would be learning how to write a resume, what to wear for an interview, how to cook, how to set up a bank account, and safe place to learn about sex education. These are just some possibilities of life skills that could be learned here. Another crucial part to the center would be having facilities for youth to use. There would be rooms to study in, a common room, and safe places to meet with counselors. The main goal is to empower youth to take care of themselves and take charge of their future.
Different Youth Centers Across the World
During my research I found several examples of modern youth centers. The three that I inspired me were from France, England, and Istanbul. The first images are from a youth center in Saint-Cloud, France. What I liked about this center was their use of windows and space. I though it was unique how the center used the hallways as social spaces not just hallways. I also liked how the windows were use to provide lots of natural light.
The second youth center I found was in Bournemouth, England. I thought that they created a great atmosphere in their space. It seemed like a place where young adults would want to come together and hang out.
The third youth center I found was in Istanbul. I liked how the space looked stunning but was practical at the same time. I think that the lockers were a necessary touch. I also thought they used color very well.
The building would be on the east side of Cleveland in the area I want to target. The building would be near multiple schools within walking distance. This site is great because it has a lot of natural light and it is easily accessible.
This the the final drawing of my building. I decided to use brick as the material for my exterior because it would blend in with other buildings in the neighborhood.
My building has three floors total. The first floor is the main entrance with two classrooms, the kitchen (another classroom), and offices.
The second floor is mainly for young adults to unwind and focus. One half of the room is used for studying and the other half is for relaxation. There is a space for counselors and tutors and a study room. Then the other half has this large common area and a game room. The common room is supposed to be filled with couches and board games. The game room is filled with video games to pinball machines.
The third floor is a library meant for students to find books for projects and for pleasure. There is also a place to access computers for research.
3D Model of Exterior
The building does not take up the entire space of the original site. This is so the space outside can be used to sit outside and feel relaxed. It also could be used to create a garden. The outdoors space is supposed to be flexible for the center’s needs. The roof of the center is glass so the room can be filled by natural sunlight. I thought that it would have a free and open feel to the room.
Thank you so much for looking through my project! If you would like to read more about Cleveland or my research I have attached my sources in a google doc down below. If you have any comments or questions drop them in the survey below! Thank you!