Madison Square Boys & Girls Club has unveiled designs for a new four-story, 45,000-sq.-ft. flagship Clubhouse for young people ages 6-18, located in Central Harlem. The Clubhouse is designed to meet to meet immediate and long-term needs of this diverse, yet underserved community that is home approximately 6,000 New Yorkers under the age of 18, many without access to the type of comprehensive services or after-school programs the new Clubhouse will provide. According to recent census data, 71 percent of area residents did not complete high school, one in three adults face unemployment, and five out of six children live in single-parent households - all factors which can be positively affected by Madison’s programs and opportunities afterschool and during the summer.
The facility, the first ground up Boys and Girls Club built in New York since 1970, is conceived as a fresh approach to what urban Boys & Girls Clubs can provide, and will be both a central hub for Madison’s five Clubhouses and for broader community activities. Nationally acclaimed firm and recent winner of the National Honor Award of Excellence from the American Institute of Architect’s Committee on Architecture for Education for its design of the Henderson-Hopkins School, ROGERS PARTNERS Architects+Urban Designers is designing the new facility.
Located on a prominent corner site, with one face toward the historic viaduct on 155th Street and the other toward Jackie Robinson Park, the building is designed as both a beacon and attractor. Historically, club membership decreases as members mature, so special attention was given to make the building exciting to teen members. In addition to visual arts, dance, music and production studios, a 500-square-foot Skybox overlooking the gym and Jackie Robinson Park offers teen members an age-specific place to socialize and gather. All members will benefit from educational spaces for tutoring and quiet learning, a screening room, digital media and technology labs, and spaces for dining and socialization. Once complete, the new Harlem Clubhouse will enable Madison Square Boys & Girls Club to expand its provision of life-changing services to the young people of Harlem.
Compared to Clubs built in the 1950s and 1960s, the new Harlem flagship uses transparency – of material and program - to present the Clubhouse as a special place to belong, and participate. The rooftop play area and abundant windows will offer views into a lively and richly occupied space in which healthy growth and development of all members happens daily. Internally, the building’s organization centers on a bright, open stair marked by glass-encased gathering spaces, connecting all levels visually and socially.
The Clubhouse will invite the youth of the neighborhood in for social engagement, athletic participation and educational advancement. Additionally, Madison’s executive headquarters, currently housed in midtown, will be co-located in the Harlem flagship Clubhouse.