Completed in 2020 by the French Architecture firm Overcode, the Grow Community Center in Amiens was built for the ALCO non-profit organization dedicated to supporting precarious families in need of cohesion and empowerment. The new structure provides a place for the community to gather, share, and bond in a proactive environment.
Grow Community Center Technical Information
- Architects1-2: Overcode
- Location: Amiens, France
- Topics: Community Center, Wooden Structure
- Client: Amiens Town
- Budget: 1,495,785 Euros
- Area: 730 m²
- Project Year: 2018-2020
- Photographs: © David Foessel
The construction method is a wood column/beam structure, which allows a tremendous amount of flexibility within the building. The building is read as a mass punctuated by generous rhythmic fenestration. The cladding plays with the perception of the building as it is seen mainly from an angle from the public space.
– Overcode Architects
Grow Community Center Photographs
Text by the Architects
Amiens’s town hall wanted to construct a new building for the ALCO non-profit organization. ALCO is a community-based association that is dedicated to supporting precarious families in need of cohesion and empowerment. It provides the community diverse activities from educational media, plastic art, theater, poetry to social mediation in a multiethnic neighborhood. ALCO is an organization and a place for the community to gather, share, and bond in a proactive environment.
The town hall made available a site at the heart of the neighborhood school campus, which included buildings from primary school, to middle school, sports hall, soccer field, and small concert hall – theater. It was a strategic position within the ALCO community to be part of the existing social network.
To construct a building in the middle of a campus posed a significant challenge in terms of its visibility and identity. The specificity of the site (narrow, lack of street visibility) and the diversity of its programmatic character trigger the idea of working with the duality of the generic and specific. The generic meant that we had to include change and evolution in the construction system to allow the workshop spaces to evolve over time. The specific had to incorporate a mode of representation that would enable the building to be recognized as a community center – ALCO – to overcome its lack of visual street presence.
The project then spins as a generic box that transforms towards the specific, from box to a de-formed box. The generosity created by manipulating the box towards the small square in front of the building allowed to nest the more public activities in direct contact with the public space (reception hall, meeting room, community kitchen, library, etc…). The reception area then connects the public with the more private spaces of the building, where workshop and administration wings are located.
The construction method is a wood column/beam structure, which allows a tremendous amount of flexibility within the building. The building is read as a mass punctuated by generous rhythmic fenestration. The cladding plays with the perception of the building as it is seen mainly from an angle from the public space, except seen by the school. The wooden fins combined with the metal sheet cladding produce a dual kind of reading, an effect which kinetic develops. From an angle, it provides a sensation of softness, warmness, and naturalness, contrary to when it is seen from the front. So the building becomes a mix of doubles: double identity, double color, double texture, double form, a double image that resonates and reflects its environments. The envelope then expresses the diversity of identities that characterizes the content – ALCO.
Grow Community Center Plans
Grow Community Center Image Gallery
Overcode is an architecture and urbanism office founded in 2011 by Claire Garcia Barriet and Alejandro Elias Garcia Marta. Overcode thinks of the architectural and urban practice as a critical and political action that tries to innovate and question the profession’s preconceived ideas.
- Contributors: Overcode & iph & tradicad