Designer Forum - Aug/Sep 2011
By Pam Caffrey
When Joan Kroc, wife of McDonald’s restaurant founder Ray Kroc, passed away in 2003, she left $1.6 billion to the Salvation Army, then the largest private donation in American history. The money came with specific instructions: create new community centers to provide amenities in underprivileged neighborhoods. Joan Kroc envisioned the centers to become beacons of hope to the surrounding communities. John Poe Architects was selected to collaborate with the Dayton Salvation Army Corps to provide architecture and interior design for the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Dayton, Ohio. A wide variety of flooring materials—including hardwood, broadloom, carpet tile, ceramic and linoleum—are used across the campus to suit the facility’s many uses.
The process of creating this unique facility began with the selection of the 17-acre Katherine Kennedy Brown Estate site, located in the McCook Field Historic District of Dayton. This location allows the Salvation Army to fulfill Kroc’s vision of establishing a presence and neighborhood identity in a previously neglected area, while preserving the historic Duncarrick Mansion and reinventing a blighted urban property.
JPA worked closely with the Salvation Army to create a four building campus housing a wide variety of program offerings. The unified plan for the campus includes three new buildings designed to uniquely reflect their individual functions while co-existing in larger composition with each other and with the Duncarrick mansion. The interior courtyard is an active linkage providing passive solitude with outdoor resting areas, water features, pathways connecting campus activities and winding walks beyond the buildings to more meditative landscape areas. Common architectural elements link each building, while interior finishes, color palettes, wood tones and patterns help to distinguish the individuality of each building.
The Worship and Arts Building is the main entry to the campus and is hallmarked by the 75’ tall Beacon of Hope tower, drawing the attention of the local community and offering the signature identity of the facility. Spaces, including a large sanctuary, banquet hall, classrooms and social service offices, support the Salvation Army’s mission of service to God and community. Earthen materials and warm colors are used throughout. The volume of the space in the main lobby informed the selection of large format 24”x48” porcelain tiles. These Zirconio tiles are not only durable, but the natural European slate look successfully harmonizes with the use of exposed brick. Smaller 13”x13” tiles of the same material are used at the brick column locations and accent the sanctuary entrance.
In the banquet hall, selecting a flooring product with high performance and low maintenance was critical. Linoleum was selected for this reason to create a dramatic arc design in multiple neutral colors. The linoleum is made by Johnsonite. The flooring pattern includes vertical bands that help to define the seating arrangements and the division of the space when the operable partitions are used. The sweeping arcs play off of the shape of the tower and add visual interest in the large space. Solution-dyed carpet tile by Tandus was used in the classrooms and social service offices, while broadloom by Tandus and Atlas were chosen for the sanctuary and movie theater spaces.
The Education Building includes the technology café, computer lab, classrooms, library and a variety of learning labs designed to aid students, parents and educators. The building’s color palette centers on shades of blue with accents of bright green and purple. JPA chose to incorporate wood in many areas including ceiling structures to create a warm, relaxing environment that facilitates learning. Carpet tiles by Bentley Prince Street were used in response to the demands for high acoustical performance. Two different carpets help to differentiate public versus private space. JPA’s Interior Designers selected a solution-dyed nylon 6 level loop carpet tile with a high appearance retention rating to ensure the greatest possible durability in public spaces. The pattern of the carpet offers high visual interest and also mimics the shape of the building’s technology cafe.
The Recreation Building is designed to support the successful Amateur Athletic Union basketball programs for which the Dayton Salvation Army is well known. It features a gymnasium and outdoor 400-seat basketball court with a full array of high tech video displays and sound to enhance the venue. The Recreation Building also features a community fitness center, aerobics/dance studio and food court. The interior spaces are treated with an industrial look with open ceilings and exposed ductwork. A combination of hard and soft flooring materials is used. Athletic maple wood flooring is used in the gymnasium. The wood concept is revisited in the food court as well, where a wood grain vinyl plank floor by Centiva is used to offer superior performance from the heavy foot traffic, café chairs and table legs. Lees carpet tile provides softness underfoot in the main fitness area, and Johnsonite rubber tiles are used under all weightlifting equipment. The gym is painted in Dayton’s signature red and navy to represent its ties to the basketball community. Locker rooms are accented with bright red, orange, blue and green to assist with wayfinding. The colors are softened in the food court and fitness areas of the facility.
The historic restoration of the Duncarrick Mansion presented unique challenges. While the house was neglected for many years, the main spaces and architectural elements were restorable. The JPA Team repurposed the facility to accommodate the main administrative offices for the campus. The first floor spaces remain relatively original and are open to the public. The upper floor game room has now been transformed into a state-of-the-art boardroom. Reuse of the existing roof tiles, cleaning of the terracotta and a new coating of stucco all rejuvenated the exterior. Also, the original woodwork was restored throughout the interior. The original oak floors were refinished, and traditional wool stair runners and area rugs by Karastan in red, gold and blue tones accent the seating areas. A custom broadloom carpet by Fortune was designed to create a traditional high-end look for the boardroom. The solid gold tone loop carpet has a tip-sheared floral pattern to accent the gold and red palette of the mansion.
JPA’s Architects and Interior Designers had an incredible experience collaborating with the Salvation Army to create a vibrant urban campus that embodies Kroc’s vision for a “beacon of hope.” This facility represents the culmination of combining architectural and interior design principles with the goals and programs of the Salvation Army’s mission. The building itself is a tool for that mission, “to create opportunities designed to help not just individuals but entire communities.”
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