How many organizations have been asked what their organization should look to best serve the next generation?
Cannon Design and The Third Teacher + partnered with The Belle Center to ask that exact question: “What should The Belle Center look like to best serve the next generation?” The organizations examined The Belle Center’s Lower West Side community within the evolving context of its vast multiculturalism, and envisioned the possibilities of a campus that is conducive to the educational and social needs of the community.
The Belle Center is a non-profit community center that bridges the gaps to success for youth and families. Headquartered in Buffalo, N.Y., The Belle Center has over three decades of service to the community. It provides over 15 premier programs and services with a vision to “improve lives, create opportunities and foster self-sufficiency” for the hundreds of youth and families who frequent The Center on a daily basis.
“The Belle Center reminds us all that a true community center is less a place and more a rich ‘fabric’ of human relationships, histories and dreams,” says Christian Long, vice president, Cannon Design/The Third Teacher +. “The Third Teacher + team is inspired by organizations that create ‘ecologies’ of hope and learning, organizations that create ‘asset maps’ of opportunity for their neighbors, organizations that empower entire cities at large. This is what drew us to the Belle Center. And it is what continues to inspire us today with an eye on a collaborative future together.”
During the morning workshop session, Cannon Design and TTT+ orchestrated a workshop engaging Belle staff and program participants, community members/organizations, business owners and stakeholders from local philanthropic foundations in a creative and strategic visioning for the future of The Belle Center and its immediate area. The afternoon session allowed for youth to have the center stage to re-imagine the community center.
“The Belle Center is here for the long haul to make a positive difference in our neighborhood and in the lives of our children and families,” said Nestor Hernandez, executive director of The Belle Center. “Our partnership with Cannon Design has led to this important day to re-visualize our services, facility and how to best serve the next generation. We look forward to our continued relationship with Cannon Design and the exploration of ideas, to birth, a fully conceptualized model of how our services will define our future space.”
Here are additional thoughts on the workshop and the relationship between Cannon Design, TTT+ and The Belle Center:
Sarah Malin, Cannon Design
“Lower West Side residents describe The Belle Center like a family member: ‘At The Belle Center, they trust you, they offer unconditional love and they’re never going to give up on you.’ How can we create a home for this strong and diverse family and help them share that experience?”
Christian Long, Cannon Design
“We’re excited by the chance to design a living/breathing plan for space and programming with the Belle Center community. And we’re humbled by the opportunity to become part of their family in the process.”
Debbie Pease, Cannon Design
“The Belle Center, its people and its community are truly a great organization that fills a tremendous community need. Every time we meet with The Belle Center, I feel an unmistakable sense that we are on the right path. Together, we will help The Belle Center build a better sense of place so that they can maximize their affect on the community.
Trung Le, Cannon Design
“The end part of this process is creating an architectural master plan for The Belle Center. We’re building a future together by creating pathways and a map together – by looking at the physical environment, the community and The Belle Center’s goals. We are designing the experience right now.”
Melanie Kahl, Cannon Design
“Beyond the ability for this master planning process to be transformative for The Belle Center, we are taken with the opportunity for this project to be a catalyst for Buffalo’s Lower West Side neighborhood. When you ask, “what is community?” and “how can we best serve the family unit?” –– you necessarily begin to create a web of services that extend beyond your walls. This master plan is a rare opportunity to accelerate and make manifest these comprehensive programs and partnerships.”
Susan Welker, AIA - 18 May 2013
Exactly! I did research during my Masters in Architecture about how more w...
Yen Cao - 15 May 2013
Way to go Brian! Congrats.
Air Monitoring - 15 May 2013
Really, its nice information, I read this whole and carefully. This covers ...
Don Wesley - 14 May 2013
Sara: What an honor, and so well deserved! You have always been a very sp...
Bob Farwell - 13 May 2013
Sara: Congratulations! I have always been impressed by your talents,work e...