This building’s triangular form creates a pleasant place to gather, learn and play
Motivated to provide vital education, recreation and training services to the underserved citizenry of Newark, New Jersey, USA, the Newark Housing Authority aspired to design a facility that would be a social collector. As a result they turned to ikon.5 architects to design a solution that would serve the local community for years to come.
The TREC, the Training Recreation and Education Center in Newark, New Jersey is a place where neighbours can gather, exercise, and receive training to improve their chances for gainful employment in a rapidly transforming digital-based economy.
The building’s triangular form results from the shifted urban grid where it meets Weequahic Park, an Olmsted-designed landscape set within the south ward of Newark. Inspired by the shift in the south ward grid, the building’s expression is two slipping triangular forms set side by side. One triangle is solid and contains recreation spaces. One triangle is transparent and contains education spaces. Its transparency conveys a sense of welcome and openness in the community. The luminous container is a beacon of hope and a pleasant place to gather, learn and play. Its bespoke design and full height windows, set largely within a window-starved community of public housing, allow passers-by to witness the energy and rich roster of activities housed within and know that a substantive investment has been made in their future.
This modest architectural urban intervention reinvents its neighbourhood, reinvigorates its citizenry, and ultimately changes their future by providing them access to the programs and tools they need to succeed in a building that engenders productivity, connectedness and positive change.