No. 164 . 24 September 2003 
ArchitectureWeek
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Oasis for Children

by Michael J. Crosbie

Creating a vibrant, challenging, and engaging environment is at the very heart of designing a childcare center. Should the architecture differ for children who are homeless?

Seeking answers to that question guided the design for the Tenderloin Childcare Center, located in one of San Francisco's most deprived neighborhoods. The result, by Gelfand RNP Architects, is an oasis of safety for 72 children who come from homeless and formerly homeless families.

The design supports early-childhood development with bright colors and interesting surfaces. It is also a place, as the architects describe it, "of security, shelter, and respite from the stresses of family life in the Tenderloin."

The 16,000-square-foot (1,500-square-meter) center occupies a mid-block site surrounded on three sides by other buildings. The building had formerly served as a film vault and, more recently, a gymnasium. Its burly character allowed the stripping away of the remnants of various renovations over the years, revealing the building's substantive concrete structure.   >>>

 

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