Center for Community and Entrepreneurship — Queens, New York

Date: 2018
Status: Proposal
Category: Institutional, Workspace, Mixed-Use Commercial
Team: Chris Leong, Dominic Leong, Gabriel Burkett, Alda Ly, Christopher Lee, Yu-Hsiang Lin, Jessie Baxa, Dale Strong
Collaborators: JCJ Architecture

Leong Leong, in association with JCJ Architects, has designed the Center for Community and Entrepreneurship, a new mixed-use community building for the non-profit organization Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE). The 90,000-square-foot, 7-story hybrid building at the prominent corner of College Point Boulevard and 39th Avenue in Flushing, Queens will include a community marketplace, public event spaces, a new business incubator, administrative offices for AAFE, and commercial office spaces.

A Vertically-Integrated Community
Four interlocking volumes with outdoor terraces—each corresponding to a different use—give the building its distinct form. A sweeping outdoor plaza, designed as an interface to the surrounding neighborhood connects a 5,000-square-foot public market directly to the street. On the second level, a multi-purpose event is open and flexible for different configurations like community programs, meetings, and performances. Large doors open directly onto a terrace space allowing the event space to expand to the exterior. On the third floor, an incubator will provide co-working space for small businesses and start-ups to collaborate and connect with. AAFE’s Flushing program offices will be located on the fourth floor, and office spaces available to emerging and established businesses will occupy floors five through seven.

A Vertical Interface
A three-story open staircase functions as a vertical interface between floors, encouraging collaboration and interaction among its varied users. At the ground floor, the staircase provides terraced seating for the public market. On the second and third floor, the staircase can transform into an event and performance space for screenings, lectures and other community-based events. The informal spaces of circulation become primary spaces for interaction and exchange—turning the architectural promenade into a social accelerator that blends public space and work space.

Gradient Transparency
The envelope of the building is a gradient of transparencies, maximizing visual connection at the street level while maintaining a distinct silhouette as an urban landmark from afar. The most transparent lower two floors contain the most public programs maximizing interaction with the neighborhood at street level.  As the programs become more introverted at the upper floors, the opacity of the curtain wall increases but still allows for views of the Flushing Creek waterfront to the West. At night, the sculptural form of the interlocking volumes will be expressed in the varying luminosity of the façade.