“Our winning design imagines the Austin Outpost pop-up LGBTQIA+ community center in a retail space. A rainbow ribbon leads LGBTQIA+ and Ally visitors into the building and through welcoming spaces designed to provide community-building programs & coworking and meeting areas. We think this design will make it easy for LGBTQIA+ people to connect with friends and resources in every Austin neighborhood,” explained the winning design team of James Garza and Rick Sanchez.
The winning design, titled “Dynamic Paths,” was one of five submission and was selected by a jury made up of City Council Member Jimmy Flannigan; Assistant City Manager Rodney Gonzales; Mia Parton of Aeparmia Engineering; Miriam Conner from the African American Resource Advisory Commission and Curated Events; Out Youth’s Kathryn Gonzales; architect Kimberly Kohlhaas; and interior designer, Joel Mozersky Design.
The Dynamic Paths project envisions the Austin Outpost Pop Up within a vacant tenant space in a typical retail strip center that can be found in all parts of the City of Austin. In addition to activating a vacant space, this approach also works to keep construction costs down as much as possible by utilizing existing plumbing, electrical, and mechanical systems.
Within the retail space, individual structures are built to meet the programmatic requirements. The small and large meeting boxes are built using 4’ panel modules that can be connected together and also disassembled and carried to another location. These panel modules are made of off the shelf plywood, metal studs, and Lexan Clear Polycarbonate panels. A ceiling made from lay-in acoustic ceiling grid and tiles and a re-positionable carpet tile floor, provide acoustical benefits to each room.
In plan, the meeting box structures are used to organize the overall space. The boxes divide the space into different zones while also creating different multifunctional spaces and seating area nooks. The first zone is the large public area that greets a community member upon entry. This multifunctional space, complete with a self-service coffee counter, resembles a creative office/coworking space in which community members can come to get work done and for groups to meet. It becomes the social hub of the center.
The middle zone made of the small and large meeting boxes, is intended for individual and group meeting spaces that require sound isolation. The small meeting box at the rear of the space is the most private space and would be used for all health and counseling needs. The final zone is a semi-public large, multifunctional space at the rear. This space can be used for large events – such as community organization meetings, art gallery openings, church services, and community events, etc. – that do not require enclosed walls and sound isolation.
Aesthetically, the design for the pop up is fresh and simple. The large demising walls of the retail space provide a large, blank canvas for murals that can be provided by community artists. The Baltic birch plywood is used purposely throughout the space to provide a warm, natural element. Off the self 2×4 wood studs are used throughout the space for detail elements. The rainbow ribbon provides colorful, dynamic lines that run throughout the space and reach to the floor in two spots, much like a real rainbow. These lines represent the dynamic and unique backgrounds of the community members who will use this space. The rainbow ribbon also extends outside of the space and is a symbolic gesture as to reach out and engage with the community.
You can see the winning design along with all the other submitted entries at www.austinoutpost.org/designs.