The redesigned Washington Houses Community Center completely transforms the setting for Union Settlement’s creative learning and support approaches for neighborhood
NEW YORK, N.Y. — The nationally recognized design and architecture firm Andrew Franz Architect has announced a much-anticipated reimagining of the Washington Houses Community Center in New York City, creating a sunny and art-filled environment for the firm’s repeat client, the successful nonprofit community organization Union Settlement.
Completely transformed from the original structure built more than 60 years ago, the new, 11,00-square-foot youth and senior center brings together the East Harlem community it serves in a state-of the-art, visually impactful and gracious setting. Modernized classrooms, welcoming offices, and bright, open public spaces are fitted out with brand-new infrastructure and lighting. The enhanced experience epitomizes Union Settlement’s engaging learning atmosphere and the creativity and warmth essential to its service mission. Funded by the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the new, one-story center delivers on its mission to serve as a powerful magnet for area teens and seniors alike.
“We are extremely proud of this collaboration with Union Settlement and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and grateful for their support of our vision of a new center and community touchstone that not only fulfills their rich program offerings but also creates a welcoming, bright and open experience for East Harlem residents,” says architect Andrew Franz, AIA, founder of Andrew Franz Architect. “It’s our hope that with this extensive redesign and the wonderful works by East Harlem artists, the center will offer a source of pride and inspiration for the youth and seniors it serves, long into the future.”
The center offers a new skylight and enlarged windows that draw in natural daylight and creating enhanced views of the trees and greenery outdoors. Throughout the building, glass partition hallways offer ample openness and views between staff members and visitors improving Union Settlement’s team communications and client safety while encouraging friendly interactions.
Welcoming new designs for the facility’s classrooms, conference areas, and workrooms transformed the spaces from cramped quarters into spacious, bright and modern learning zones. All furnished with new light-toned wood tables and desks, along with colorful chairs — and new electrical and mechanical systems — the stage is set for community and staff engagement, comfort, and productivity.
“Union Settlement is thrilled to see the Washington Houses Community Center transformed into such an amazing space, and we are delighted to now welcome children, youth, adults and seniors back into this wonderful new space,” said David Nocenti, executive director of Union Settlement, when it opened. “We are grateful to Andrew Franz Architect for the firm’s innovative design that will provide an open and airy space for the East Harlem community to enjoy for years to come.”
At its ribbon-cutting, Gale A. Brewer, Borough President of Manhattan, extended her appreciation directly to the architect Franz, saying, “It’s a beautifully designed space where youth and seniors can grow, learn, and develop.”
With the new design by Andrew Franz Architect, the Washington Houses Community Center supports the advancement of Union Settlement’s legacy of community service in exceptional style, helping promote productive futures through youth programs and ensuring older citizens enjoy long-lasting quality of life through its robust senior center.