Remodelling of community centre in Dorchester for non-profit preschool day-care and afterschool programs.
Located at the Fields Corner district in Dorchester, Boston, the project is a preschool day-care and an afterschool facility housed within the existing Vietnamese American Community Centre. It is an initiative of a non-profit community development corporation that promotes affordable housing and supports the physical, social, and emotional wellbeing of the neighbourhood residents. The remodelling of the space entailed the creation of an inclusive and open educational space that choreographs the spatial demands of the two distinct programs. During the morning hours the childcare program tends to toddlers and prepares them for enrolment in kindergartens in the Boston Public Schools system, while in the afternoons the afterschool program provides tutoring, enrichment activities and community engagement opportunities for 1st-8th graders. The classrooms, due to limited space and resources, are transformed multiple times throughout the day to accommodate the different age groups and their activities. Our first action was to remove walls that partitioned the available space. Second, we introduced playful furniture for storage, sitting, and napping as well as movable elements and screens that allow students and teachers to organise the space according to their own desires stimulating participation and informal gatherings.