BakerRipley: East Aldine Economic Opportunity Center
Page was selected by the non-profit community development organization BakerRipley, formerly Neighborhood Centers, Inc., to design a new seven acre mixed-use economic opportunity center campus to improve lives in the lower-income East Aldine area. The project is a component of a larger 61-acre town center development in an unincorporated area within the city of Houston. The 14.8 square-mile East Aldine Management District was created by the Texas Legislature in June 2001 to enhance the physical, social, and economic well-being of the area.
The design for the East Aldine Economic Opportunity Center supports educational opportunities and community engagement across the town center development. The center is affiliated in part with Lone Star Community College, one of the fastest-growing systems in the U.S. The Harris County Sheriff's Office also plans to open a call center to serve as a regional asset and employer. A future retail/office development directly adjacent to the site will provide opportunities for education and support to users of the center as well as the whole East Aldine area. Centrally located to all the adjacent properties and the heart of the community are the East Aldine Management District Office Building and Civic spaces.
Three individual buildings totaling 42,000 square feet are situated around courtyards and gathering spaces with connections between each to create the feel of a campus. The North building includes the Welcome Center, a credit union and flexible retail footage that also can be used as assembly spaces. The two-story West building houses classrooms and multipurpose spaces on the first floor and shell space for a future clinic on the second. The East building is a high bay column free space designed to include a maker space, a commercial kitchen incubator, a cafe and a youth lounge. Direct connections to adjacent properties are made through public spaces, pedestrian paths or public/private transportation.
The project is located on a major thoroughfare, providing easy access by public transportation, on foot or bicycle. Racks are located near each primary building entrance. Parking also is available onsite. The campus was designed to ensure that open and landscaped spaces equal or exceed the total structural footprint. The building envelopes and lighting exceed IECC 2015 energy requirements, and indoor environmental quality also was a focus.
BakerRipley prioritized comprehensive community engagement in the development of this project. Page worked closely with the client to develop the engagement strategy, establish event agendas, facilitate engagement and document stakeholder participation. The programming phase of the project also included two town halls, seven targeted community member participation workshops and intercept interviews. The project team subsequently developed a comprehensive program including preliminary design concepts, material selections and site planning concepts that trace directly to community input.
Page, BakerRipley and the contractor collaborated to maximize the use of capital campaign funds. Cost-efficient strategies included the use of pre-engineered structures and metal building wall systems. In addition to architecture and programming, Page also provided engineering and branding / graphics services.
Publications + News
- 2018 Recap: Celebrating Our Work
- BakerRipley: Making Houston FABulous
- Groundbreaking of Neighborhood Centers Economic Development Project