A quirky Googie bowling alley finds new life as a Community Center in Los Angeles

Former bowling alley, now the Foundation Center (Cuningham Group)

Former bowling alley, now the Foundation Center (Cuningham Group)

Googie—the futuristic style born in mid-century Los Angeles coffee houses (like the recently threatened Norms), gas stations, and motels—has found a revival in Cuningham Group‘s renovation of the “Southwest Bowl” in South LA’s West Athens district.

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On View> Mobile Homestead: MOCA Detroit’s Community Center on Wheels

Thursday, June 6, 2013
(Courtesy MOCA Detroit)

(Courtesy MOCA Detroit)

Mobile Homestead
Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit
4454 Woodward Avenue

Before his passing at the young age of 57, Los-Angeles based artist Mike Kelley created an exact duplicate of his childhood home in the Westland area of Detroit, on-wheels. The artist intended to use the mobile-home as a community center, it’s rooms dedicated to hosting local events and providing community services and education programs, save for the two-story basement, which he would close to the public and use as his private underground studio. Kelley was never able to use his studio. He tragically committed suicide before he could ever see his vision come to life, but his artistic legacy lives on. The mobile home, which provides a solid example of the architecture of working-class neighborhoods in the American Midwest, was wheeled to The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit where it has been transformed into a center for community programs, just as Kelley intended.

Mies’ Gas Station Gets Refueled

International, Newsletter
Thursday, March 8, 2012

Courtesy Les Architectes FABG

Designed a year before his death in 1968, Mies van der Rohe’s Esso station on l’Île des Sœurs in Montreal has been vacant and shuttered since 2008. The station, intended to serve nearby apartment blocks also designed by Mies, was built during the early urbanization of the island and closed when another station opened closer to the island’s main thoroughfare. Having been declared a historic monument in 2009, the community eventually decided to restore the structure and convert it to an intergenerational community center.

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Archtober Building of the Day #12: Betances Community Center

Wednesday, October 12, 2011
The Betances Community Center in the Bronx (Courtesy Stephan Yablon Architect)

The Betances Community Center in the Bronx (Courtesy Stephan Yablon Architect)

When is a Center really a center? Well first of all it’s got to have a center, don’t you think? The Betances Community Center has a splendid gym holding strong in the middle of the plan, full of warm, white light modulated by the south-facing glass block wall and monitor side walls of Kalwall. Originally intended to house a boxing ring and bright orange bleacher seating, the space is now multi-purpose with the bleachers accordioned to the walls; the famous boxing program moved elsewhere. Even without the ring, the architecture packs a wallop of clarity, modesty, attention to detail, and programmatic resolution.

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