“Big Family” Community Center is located in Dajiaoting Community, Chaoyang District, Beijing. It was a vacant underground space before the upgrade. The government hopes to create a public space for the residents’ communication through the transformation.
The site area is about 300 square meters, and the underground original concrete wall could hardly be removed, so the original residential-like space has to be maintained. There are also various usage demands from the elderly, children, owners committee, community organization and other people. Different from the previous design experience, this project brief starts from the meetings organized by the neighborhood committee, the owners of the residents, the resident representatives and architect.
After collecting the requirements of multi-party, the whole space is divided into four parts, which is community education, community organization, children’s space and senior’s community. To ensure the reasonable functional areas, we designed a shared hall in the center to connect each part. The multi-functional shared hall is able to support any of the extended usage such as party, salon, teaching, reading and other flexible activities. The use of luminous celling also aims to eliminate the lack of underground space and create an outdoor courtyard feeling.
How to provide a circulation from ground level to the underground space is another key point of this design. Taking into account the community's emphasis on culture and education, we set 28 meters length bookcase wall, extending from the outdoor entrance to the shared hall space. The design of the bookcase wall on the one hand to settle the community’s 6,000 books storage, on the other hand can also make reading and learning to become residents’ daily behavior in this community.
In addition, the main user of this space is based on the senior and children in the community, so we use the "small house" graphic as the functional area of space to create symbols, with warm wood and bright and fresh colors to express the community center as a "big family" affinity.
The whole project lasted for more than a half year, including multi-party discussion, architectural design and construction processes. For architects, it is a meaningful social engagement more than a design project. It requires architects to communicate, participate deeply into the community and a wild range of space users from the very beginning, in order to establish a clear spatial logic to balance and coordinate the multi-appeal. The project also allows us to rethink the social responsibility for the architects at this time. “Sharing, Co-creating, Co-governance” is the key criterion of new generation community in China, and it could also be the potential for the architects to release our social value.