Youth Centers are facilities designed to provide a safe, informal and supervised environment for young people. They accommodate unstructured social interaction among different age groups and provide the space to offer more structured activities. By giving youth the opportunity to take part in recreational and cultural activities or vocational counseling, these centers help them develop their physical, social, emotional, and cognitive abilities and to experience achievement, enjoyment, friendship, and recognition.
An important aspect to ensure the success of the facility is the space itself. While meeting the durability requirements for a public facility, the furnishings, colors, finishes and surfaces in Youth Centers need to promote a sense of ownership and freedom of expression, and have a warm, homelike quality that encourages creative development.
From Mexico to Souh Korea, we have selected seven Youth Centers that contribute to the development of a positive environment for youth within each community.
"After-school time is critical for children’s comprehensive development. In marginalized areas, many children are left without adult supervision when classes finish, a situation that poses a risk to their health, safety and general wellbeing. In these areas, the lack of safe spaces for recreation means that violence, drug and alcohol use, and insecurity hinder healthy development and lead to the weakening of the social fabric. This situation perpetuates negative cycles that generate inequality, among many other serious consequences for the community. The Club of Niños y Niñas is a project established to provide young people aged between 6 and 18 years’ old a safe and healthy environment for creative, innovative, physical, and intellectual after-school activities; this is a space that promotes positive values and community integration through play, art, and learning."
"Surrounded by nature, this massive wooden building offers a safe and secure place to exchange both externally and internally. Youth centers are places of open youth work, provide space for encounter, the acquisition of social skills and educational content. The young people find inspiration and support and can use a wide range of meaningful recreational opportunities."
"Public space will, therefore, be created between the new construction and the existing buildings, offering calm and protection, allowing access to the different services, as well as offering a meeting place for the community."
"Just a few kilometers away from the Thai-Burma border, adjacent to a natural reservoir, lies a youth center providing educational services to Karen migrant youth. (...) The design of Hua Fai transgresses conventional designs of such institutions that maximize utility with little regard for the complex social needs of the youth inhabiting these spaces. The design of Hua Fai with its triangular structure and cascading vertical gardens provide youth with their own private space to flourish and pursue their educational goals."
"The brief has been to create a safe informal after-school facility that encourage children in the age of 4-17 to play, study and form an inspired relationship to self directed learning. (...) While functioning as an after-school facility during weekdays and weekends, the building becomes a safe meeting spot for children in emergency."
"The aim of the design was to create a place for contemplation, where youths from around the world would be able to engage in close dialogue to actively engage with the history of Europe, as well as forge friendships shaping new perspectives for the future."
"Compared to the amount of time youth groups are required to spend in private institutes or after school tutoring, it is usually thought that they are not given proper opportunities to explore their interests and hobbies. Including public schools, many of the spaces youth groups may visit and stay are far from alluring. For the "youth group" includes a such large spectrum of ages from kindergarten goers to college students, the community’s youth centers need to well support varying needs and wants of different age groups. The Chilbo Youth Center aims to provide a platform where the youth can appreciate their most favored spots, where they may choose different places to be, and where spatial characteristics of each space are precisely experienced from their eye levels."