Vare Recreation Center
Located in South Philadelphia, the Vare Recreation Center has been a fixture in the neighborhood for more than 100 years. In October 2017, a ceiling in the main building collapsed, triggering immediate evacuation and closure of the building for staff, program leaders, and youth. Vare remained closed for a short period while structural evaluations were performed, and reinforcements installed. Vare was announced as the city’s first Rebuild sites a few months later.
A site assessment and conceptual design package were approved in December 2019 with the decision to demolish the existing building and build a new structure. This proposed site plan, “The Stoop,” was created in close partnership to create a space that could serve residents for many years to come.
Design for Equity & Sustainability
The project included stakeholder sessions with the community to shape the design direction. “The Stoop” represents the threshold between programs and provides a space to sit, watch, and gather. The tight budget pushed the design team to use their creativity to get the most value for the community. They sought water and energy efficiency measures for both the site and the building. The color palette evokes joyfulness with a sense of safety. The warm and cool tones come together at the entryways to create a cohesive medley reflective of the diverse and growing community. The flexibility, adaptability, and resiliency of the spaces and programs were of high importance to the community. The project is slated for LEED® Silver Certification.
- Project Type: New Construction, Parks & Recreation Facility
- Project Status: In progress
- Client: Make the World Better Foundation; The City of Philadelphia, Rebuild
- Project Responsibility: Architect of Record
- Project Size: 3.6-acre site
- Key Team Members: Ian Smith, Chris Soffientini