Largo Community Center is a senior focused, LEED Platinum community center, providing recreation programs that include an auditorium, art room, game room, and card room. We created a site for the building from a non de script suburban parcel. The original community center was devoid of a single window and no exterior green space. Inside, the patrons would try to mingle in a five foot corridor that doubled as a lobby. Although the environment wasn’t ideal, there was a wonderful display of kinship shared by the patrons and staff which we wanted to design the new building around. We first organized the new building around the patrons. Corridors were eliminated, consolidating all circulation within a large central lobby. This lobby acts as a city square providing the building with a social center. The patrons can now mingle and survey the entire facility together at one time. It is the place to meet and a space to relax between classes. We believe this space will extend the length of participant stay and the number of classes they take.
Floor to ceiling glass was installed throughout the lobby to give patrons the natural light that they had been deprived within the existing building. Light now floods into the lobby reducing the need for artificial light during the day. We ensured that the patrons would have views through the glazing by locating the building around a strand of beautiful Grand Oak trees.
A park was created among the trees becoming part of the lobby space, as seen through the expansive glazing. The client requested an interior park-like environment. We took this as an inspiration. The large expanses of glazing and continuity of exterior/interior finishes brings the park inside. Leaves were embedded into suspended resin ceiling panels and an abstract landscape was embedded into the lobby concrete walls. The resulting environment is inviting, uplifting, and promotes involvement of the patrons.