Adjaye Associates designs Brooklyn community centre to “disrupt the racial wealth gap”

Restoration Campus Billy Holliday theatre

UK studio Adjaye Associates has released designs for a Brooklyn campus for the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation that include a cultural centre and theatre.

The campus will include three structures at the institution’s site on Fulton Street in central Brooklyn. It includes two mid-rise buildings at 16 and 13 storeys and an expressive cultural building and theatre at four storeys tall.

The 840,000-square-foot Restoration Innovation Campus will have a cultural centre, theatre, and offices, as well as public and commercial space, dedicated to educational and community-building initiatives.

Restoration Campus rendering
Adjaye Associates has released designs for a community-centred campus in Brooklyn

“The design of Innovation Campus taps into Bed-Stuy’s vibrant culture to create a place-based model to disrupt the racial wealth gap,” said studio founder David Adjaye.

“Based on extensive community engagement sessions, the design scheme prioritises the public realm and ensures dedicated space for collaboration between mission-aligned partners.”

“We look forward to seeing the campus become a reality and model for others as Restoration moves the transformative plan forward.”

Billie Holiday Theatre rendering
It features three buildings, including the expressive Billie Holiday Theatre

For the cultural centre and preconceived Billie Holiday theatre, the renderings show a two-storey structure cantilevered over a plaza and supported by a number of smaller structures with spaces in between, giving the impression of stilts.

The structure will have a scalloped, arch facade with expansive windows and sit between two mid-rise towers.

Lines of sight will run underneath the cantilevered structure, between the ground-floor areas, opening up the block to pedestrians.

The office buildings flanking the theatre building will be largely symmetrical, with terraces occurring halfway up as the tower graduates towards a slender envelope.

The offices will surface staff of the institution as well as provide space for the outreach and development programs initiated there, including the Restoration Software Engineering Fellowship, Restoration Business Center and the Center for Personal Financial Health.

In 2019, Adjaye Associates undertook a “visioning process” with the community that resulted in the current designs.

Interior of Restoration Campus rendering
It will include a community centre, offices and retail

Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation has been operating for 55 years and has played a vital role in strengthening the community, according to local and national politicians.

“Restoration Plaza has brought residents together for art, education, engagement, service and commerce,” said US House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries.

“The Restoration Innovation Campus will further the legacy of what has come before and takes bold steps to help meet the needs of those living in the neighborhood by investing in the community and delivering good-paying jobs.”

New York City mayor Eric Adams and Brooklyn borough president Antonio Reynoso also voiced support for the project.

The organization cited a $40-$50 billion dollar “racial wealth gap” in Brooklyn, which it says has only increased during the pandemic, “devasting” businesses, excluding people of colour from the borough’s economic growth.

Other projects created by Adjaye Associates include the National Museum for African American History in Washington DC.

The studio also recently unveiled plans to develop the waterfront in Cleveland, a city heavily hit by post-industrialisation in the United States.

The renderings are courtesy of Adjaye Associates.

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