Boys and Girls Club is a project established to provide young people aged between 6 and 18 years’ old a safe and healthy environment for creative, innovative, physical, and intellectual after-school activities; this is a space that promotes positive values and community integration through play, art, and learning.
The project was divided into three buildings: Building A the educational building, housing classrooms and spaces for music, art and computers. Developed in a single-level volume, the building has two adjoining central courtyards understood visually as a single space. The patio provides natural ventilation and illumination without the need for windows on the façades, to achieve the following specific objectives: protecting children, as classrooms can be supervised without needing to walk long distances.
Building B is the arts building. It is used for less academic activities: a hall for dance classes, a dojo, as well as a large multipurpose area for students’ temporary art exhibitions and similar events. The building also has a semi-open auditorium for music recitals, dance performances and all kinds of talks, and is fluidly connected with the main staircase leading to the central patio.
Building C is the sports building and consists of a large roofed space adaptable to all kinds of activities and sports. This building’s north-facing orientation provides natural lighting thanks to its saw-tooth roof.
The three buildings are connected by a covered corridor that functions as a guiding axis and to organize the overall space. This element—composed of 24 vertebrae in the form of arches—is the back- bone of the architectural design. The arcade is an ingenious geometric structure of exposed concrete arches. Each of the 24 modules represents a human vertebra reflecting the idea that comprehensive education and training is the foundation for a better future.
The project is completed with various sports and recreational areas.
about the category
After-school time is critical for children’s comprehensive development. In marginalized areas, many children are left without adult supervision when classes finish, a situation that poses a risk to their health, safety and general wellbeing. In these areas, the lack of safe spaces for recreation means that violence, drug and alcohol use, and insecurity hinder healthy development and lead to the weakening of the social fabric. This situation perpetuates negative cycles that generate inequality, among many other serious consequences for the community.
The Club is a foundation established to provide young people aged between 6 and 18 years’ old a safe and healthy environment for creative, innovative, physical, and intellectual after-school activities, is based on the successful model implemented 150 years ago by the Boys & Girls Club of America.
We carefully searched for an area suffering from extreme urban overcrowding and lack of amenities, in order to maximize the community impact of this major initiative. After located at the boundary between two municipalities, Tecámac and Ecatepec, with a catchment area of 15 low-income neighborhoods within a two-kilometer (1.2-mile) radius. This area is located within a special crime prevention zone set up by the federal Interior Ministry. Ecatepec and Tecámac have a combined population of 2,070,000, with the highest population density, insecurity and crime levels in Mexico.
One of the challenges was interaction with the community: it was essential to gain the trust of the neighbors. During the construction process, we were active in the community offering various activities to the inhabitants of the surrounding neighborhoods, to introduce them to the mission and programs of the Club.
Other relevant challenge for the execution of the project was the search for the donation in kind of the construction materials, the collaboration of specialists and contractors, as well as the support of public/private institutions.