May 21, 2014

Celebrating Active Design and a healthier built environment

Joan Krevlin and Charles Azar, of the Sephardic Community Center, accept the project's Active Design award.
Joan Krevlin and Charles Azar, of the Sephardic Community Center, accept the project’s Active Design award.

This past Tuesday night, the team behind our Sephardic Community Center attended a hopping party in celebration of active design. The project, located on Ocean Avenue in Brooklyn, is one of four recipients of this year’s Active Design Award—and the only one located in New York City.

The program’s host, the Center for Active Design, is a national non-profit organization that got its start in New York City with the Bloomberg administration’s initiative to promote physical activity in public buildings. A growing number of studies show that design can play a critical role in the health and wellbeing of building occupants and helps combat obesity. Specific design strategies that promote active living include the careful placement and design of stairs, elevators, and connections between indoor and outdoor spaces.

At our Sephardic Community Center, a new central circulation space, anchored by an architecturally distinctive open stair, enhances connectivity throughout the expanded building, and serves as the heart of the center. Former NYC Department of Design & Construction Commissioner and Active Design Award juror David Burney had this to say about the project:

Bringing Active Design principles to a building renovation can be challenging, given the constraints of an existing building. But the renovation of the Sephardic Community Center shows what can be accomplished. Not only does the renovated building include active recreation such as a gym, fitness center and pool, the main lobby staircase, wide and light-filled, becomes the most prominent circulation path, made even more inviting by the long glass wall bearing images of Sephardic immigrants.

At the party, project leader Joan Krevlin accepted the Active Design Award with Charles Azar, a member of the Sephardic Community Center board. This award, and the success of the design overall, is the result of a shared vision for a transformative  the vitality of a multi-generational Brooklyn community.

Access the full Active Design Guidelines here.

Also, you can read excellent coverage about the Active Design program on Fast Company and ArchDaily.


Photo courtesy of the Center for Active Design.
Photo courtesy of the Center for Active Design.
The central circulation space at the Sephardic Community Center is anchored by an open, daylight-filled stair.