Award Winner - May 2012
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Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Community Center

Dorchester, Massachusetts

S U B M I T T E D    B Y

The Architectural Team Inc. in Chelsea, Mass.

Size: 90,000 square feet

Project Cost: $115 million

Quick Tour:

  • Culinary Arts, including dining hall, kitchen and cafĂ©
  • Education and Learning, including computer lab, library, classrooms and art room
  • Performing Arts/Worship space
  • Gymnasium/Fitness, including dual-court gymnasium, ropes course & climbing wall, cardio & weight space, and exercise room
  • Aquatics, including recreational pool with current channel, play area, slide and outdoor sprayground
  • Outdoor Areas, including synthetic turf field, member seating, community garden and children's playground
  • Member Amenity Areas, including teen lounge, senior lounge, babysitting room, meeting rooms and changing rooms
  • Services area, administrative offices
  • Training room

One of the most economically challenged neighborhoods in Boston now is home to a 90,000-square-foot, $115 million community center—The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center, located in Dorchester, Mass.

The center, built on a large six-acre urban site, is the largest private, nonprofit, social services investment in New England and the largest center in Massachusetts. The new facility, located in Boston's Uphams Corner neighborhood—which consists mostly of minorities, immigrants and those whose economic position makes them likely to suffer from poor health and nutrition—addresses the community's recreational, educational, nutritional, social, spiritual and artistic needs.

The new facility certainly is a welcome addition to the area, considering that for more than 20 years, various groups and organizations in the Uphams Corner neighborhood have tried to raise money to develop a community center. The Kroc Center of Boston was granted $85 million from the fund that was set up by the Ray and Joan Kroc (McDonald's) estate.

More than 85,000 square feet of program areas on two floors, with two entrances, can be found at the center with features such as a 500-seat dual court gymnasium, outdoor playground equipment for multiple age groups, weight training and cardio fitness equipment, and a multi-use recreational aquatic facility. The building's façade is composed of ground faced block, metal panel and brick. Meanwhile, extensive glazing was used on the north and south facades of the facility, to make use of natural light in the interior areas and to provide a strong visual connection between the program spaces and surrounding neighborhood.

The center provides health facilities for annual physicals and clinic inoculations and flu shots, a dining facility and a culinary teaching kitchen.

Design components of the center include ultraviolet light for pool filtration; overhead doors in the aquatic center, which are attached to a set of outdoor temperature and humidity sensors that enable staff members to open doors during certain weather conditions and expand the aquatic program area to include the outdoor sprayground; and a synthetic turf multi-use field. In addition, exterior materials used include numerous skylights in the lobby space.

Building a sense of community throughout the facility also was important in designing the center. The concept that dominated the project design

layout was "a community flows through it." In turn, the program components were placed along a curving spine that runs through the middle of the facility—providing a visual connection between programs on both floors, at all sides and ends of the building.


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