Grundy Teen Center Project
The Grundy Teen center celebrates Appalachian heritage and aspires to create a resilient community. The design includes 7,000 square feet of multipurpose spaces to serve the youth of Buchanan County, Virginia.
The theme of the EP Exhibit 2016 is It Takes a Community. Selected projects showcase the best work from young designers highlighting community impact and engagement.
The design for the Grundy Teen Center has evolved over the last three years into a celebration of Appalachian heritage and aspirations for a resilient community in Grundy, Virginia. Grundy has a rich history marked by floods, resulting in a flood-proofing project that began in 2001 and demolished nearly 80 percent of the buildings in the downtown sector. The razing of the existing teen center and closure of locally owned businesses was a devastating loss for the sense of community experienced in the old downtown.
The commission to design a new teen center adjacent to the community center is an opportunity to restore the space where the youth of Buchanan County can congregate after school and on weekends. The Grundy Teen Center provides 7,000 square feet of programmed and multi-purpose spaces, including an outdoor covered courtyard. Using the feedback from students and community stakeholders, programmed spaces provide a venue for after-school music programs, technology education, and culinary arts instruction.
The flexible multi-purpose room accommodates musical performances, dances, and community events. The roof structure extends over a courtyard, which is sheltered from the highway by the building itself, where the community members can participate in outdoor recreation.
The materiality of the Grundy Teen Center pays homage to the vernacular of Appalachian building traditions, as well as local craft and industry. The reclaimed wood cladding on the façade evokes the classic bluegrass song, “Mountain Dew,” and conveys the local significance of the lumber industry. The tradition of collecting photographs from the past is exhibited in the multi-purpose room, which also features a brick mural designed by local artisans.
The Grundy Teen Center was developed through feedback from stakeholders throughout the project, including the Grundy Town Council, high school students of Buchanan County, and local community members. The design is a true reflection of the town’s rich culture and regional heritage as well as an architectural embodiment of aspirations for the Grundy’s future prosperity.