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Youthful building provides a safe space

“A modern touch in a vital place. The building expresses itself at the same time as it reaches out and invites in,” WAN Awards Judging Panel

Project: Broadway Youth Center

Award: Healthcare, Gold, 2023

Location: Chicago, United States

Architect: Wheeler Kearns Architects

Client: Howard Brown Health

The vibrant new five storey Broadway Youth Center (BYC) provides a home for Chicago’s young LGBTQ+ community to access comprehensive social and medical services.  The building’s façade is composed of a patchwork of large masonry panels, made with varying shades and patterns of bricks. It wraps around the building like a quilt and is intended to symbolize the unity within the diverse community of individuals who use it.
Inside smiling faces immediately greet visitors to help them navigate to their destination, whether the café, clinic services, pharmacy, classrooms, or daily drop-in centre on the top levels. Accent colours and murals on each floor are coupled with warm maple wood doors and millwork. Airy, light-filled spaces and comfortable furnishings bring the community’s artistic, youthful and energetic spirit into peaceful and therapeutic spaces.

Design highlights

Clinic spaces feature improved filtration, abundant natural light and high-performance glazing for acoustic isolation. Double-height windows flood the dance room with light, providing a secure, comfortable space for clients to socialize, exercise and express themselves.


Photo credit: Kendall McCaugherty

  • LEAD ARCHITECTS: Noah Luken, Emily Ray, Erica Ulin, Larry Kearns
    CONSTRUCTION MANAGER: Bulley & Andrews
    STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Forefront Engineers
    MEP/FP Engineer: dbHMS.
    CIVIL ENGINEER: Terra Engineering

  • LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: site design group
    HEALTHCARE CONSULTANT: Anderson Mikos Architects
    KITCHEN CONSULTANT: Edge Associates

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