Young Nation is an outreach, education, and youth development organization which "attempts to affect change by inspiring young minds through example and engagement." Young Nation's flagship project, called "The Alley Project" (TAP) transformed a Southwest Detroit neighborhood alley and surrounding vacant lots into an inspirational graffiti art gallery, which connects neighbors and youth to each other as well as to community assets.
This project - TAP Commons - sought to provide an anchor to The Alley Project through the renovation of an existing 2,400 square-foot building into a community center, Young Nation headquarters, and leasable tenant area. The design challenge was to create a flexible, accessible, and authentic space which reflected the values of the community. The project began with a participatory process led by the Detroit Collaborative Design Center which engaged neighbors in the initial planning & design.
The north facade was removed to create a larger community room, which opens onto an enclosed ‘front porch’ area. The porch is enclosed by the geometric-patterned ornamental ironwork screens, which reference the fences and security screens prevalent in the neighborhood. Local metalworkers fabricated the screens; and local and national artists painted the mural which wraps throughout the building. Large windows pop from the west facade for a visual connection to the street and future adjacent park.
On the interior, wood finish panels in bold colors and subtle patterns reference the mural and metalwork, and large moveable doors allow flexibility of spaces as well as provide functional writeable surfaces for meeting notes and impromptu artwork.
Recognition: AIA / HUD Secretary's Award, 2019 "good design is not exclusive"
Finalist : Design Core Detroit + AIA Detroit UNESCO City of Design Commerce Design Awards, 2018.
Client - Young Nation / Inside Southwest Participatory Design - Detroit Collaborative Design Center GC - Michigan Alterations Fabrication - Disenos Ornamental Ironwork (metalwork), Jordan Vaughn, Freddy Diaz, Dave Bequette (muralists) Engineers/Specialty: MA Engineering (MEP), Darvas Engineering (structural) Photography - Erik Howard