SOMALI AMERICAN COMMUNITY CENTER
The concept for the Somali American Community Center is comprised of two distinct massings positioned on the East and West side of the site. Surrounded by lush greenery and outdoor seating, the buildings are linked by a grand set of landscape terraces, gradually rising from ground level to the rooftop athletic fields. The terraces are symbolic of the Somalian highlands.
Along the East is commercial space condensed along a thoroughfare street. The building celebrates traditional Somali weaving with a colorful plated façade based on traditional weaving. Programming in this area includes an East African style coffee roastery and café, incubator office space and conference rooms, and a board room and administrative spaces for the community center staff. Connection to the street level is emphasized by floor to ceiling walls of super insulated glass framed by Minnesota limestone pillars. Visual and circulation flow between inside and out into the landscaping to promote active street life.
On the West is a banquet hall and indoor recreation facilities including two Futsal/Basketball courts, locker rooms, exercise/ yoga rooms, mindfulness room, and an area for spectators. Two additional rooftop futsal fields and support space are located above and proposed to be covered in winter with a pneumatic dome. The façade of the banquet hall references East African patterns found in the making of drums and nomadic shelters. The transparency and glowing lantern like quality of the building at night, gives freedom of vision in effort to welcome people and connect the community center with the street and public realm.
The grand landscaped terrace and stair between the East and West building blocks creates an exterior access to the turf rooftop recreation fields. This architectural shift of the terrace creates places for small gatherings and unique spectatorship opportunities overlooking the indoor courts. Beneath the stair functions as a link between the distinct East and West sides of the projects and houses axial programs like restrooms, waste, and core.