Ray and Joan Kroc
The design of the Corps Community Center overlays the Salvation Army mission of redemption
with the desire for specific cultural connection to the Grand Boulevard neighborhood. Our project is organized around the combined Lobby
and Atrium spaces that form a generous, sheltered and vibrant communal space. Structured with the sociability of a 'mall', our communal
space is a remembrance of the vitality of State and 47th Streets. Our proposal creates a new village with a brick neighborhood nestled
within larger limestone athletic elements. The Community Center slopes from the ground and reaches to the sky. Formally and functionally
recalling the original 1920's era three level Binga Block (on State Street between 47th and 48th) the new brick 'Binga Block', stretches
out along State Street in an appropriate low urban residential scale to reflect the existing neighborhood. The food court is
serendipitously located on the original site of Nick and Angel's Hamburger Grill from the 1930's. Containing most of the Family Life
and Education program and the primary Corps offices in the new Binga Block, important community needs are efficiently focused. Bleachers
and plazas along State Street relate back to the neighborhood and DuSable High School with a welcoming, multi-use spirit.
Contemporary culture admixtures make the Community Center accessible to youth from the Trail
of Murals to exterior 'car culture' waystations. Partnerships with 'The University of Hip Hop', 'Gallery 37' and 'After School Matters' can
build on successful existing Chicago youth mentoring programs. Technology extends the Salvation Army's mission in an educational and
interactive manner that parallels the Salvation Army's neighborhood immersion ethic. Internal and external video projection, link the
neighborhood to the dynamic life of the Community Center broadcasting a mini-panorama of events.
With a fully sustainable project that adds nearly 130,000 sf of green roofs and many acres of
greenspace to the city landscape, the Corps Community Center embraces Chicago's remarkable green mandate as outlined in the 2005 Green
Building Agenda. It is our hope that this unique combination of social cause and fully sustainable architecture can affect positive
spiritual, economic and educational change in peoples lives and exemplify the shared aspirations of the Salvation Army, the Grand
Boulevard neighborhood and the long standing tradition of innovative Chicago architecture.
In association with Cannon Design and Vernon Williams Architects PC