New York – JCJ Architecture and Leong Leong recently unveiled the design of the Center for Community and Entrepreneurship, a new mixed-use community building for the nonprofit organization Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE).
Expected to be complete in 2018, the 90,000sf seven-story building will be located at the corner of College Point Boulevard and 39th Avenue in Flushing, Queens.
AAFE’s center will include a sweeping outdoor plaza, designed as an interface to the surrounding neighborhood, connecting a 5,000sf public market to the street.
On the second level, a flexible, multipurpose event space can be configured for community programs, meetings, exhibitions, and performances. Large doors open onto a terrace, allowing the event space to expand to the exterior.
On the third floor, Flushing’s first business incubator will provide coworking space for local small businesses and start-ups to collaborate with one another.
AAFE’s Flushing program offices will be located on the fourth floor.
A three-story open staircase functions as a vertical interface between floors.
Four interlocking structures with outdoor terraces give the building its distinct form, articulated by a gradient of vertical transparencies that emphasize its distinct silhouette.
The more transparent lower two floors contain the most public programs, and as the programs become more private on the upper floors, the exterior becomes more opaque while still internally supporting views of the city and the Flushing Creek waterfront.
Since its inception in 1974 as an equal rights advocacy group, AAFE has worked tirelessly to provide a range of support services – such as affordable housing, counseling and financial assistance, and community development – to enrich the lives of Asian Americans and others in need throughout New York City.
“JCJ’s core belief is that strong design builds communities, and it is truly inspiring to bring a structure to life that is completely in concert with AAFE’s mission,” said Peter Bachmann, Principal and Institutional Market Leader at JCJ Architecture, which serves as the Executive Architect on the project. “This mission inspired JCJ and Leong Leong to design a progressive building form modeled after the concept of holding hands and interweaving fingers – a physical presence to match the social symbol for community empowerment.”
“The goal of this project was unique from the start: to create a vertically-integrated community for Flushing that seamlessly links work, events, and the public. The informal spaces of circulation become primary spaces for interaction and exchange – we turned the architectural promenade into an vertical interface that blends public space and work space,” said Chris Leong, partner at Leong Leong, that serves as the designer on the project. “We are in new paradigm of urbanism where the interconnectivity between spaces of collaboration and the city is critical,” added Dominic Leong, partner at Leong Leong.
“This building will allow AAFE to reach its fullest potential, supporting our mission to generate small business opportunities, provide local services and foster community interaction,” concluded AAFE’s Executive Director Christopher Kui. “Every aspect of the project’s design has been shaped to ensure that this will become a vital hub for economic development in Flushing, while creating an engaging statement about the values of the AAFE organization and our community.”