The design intent for the Boyle Heights Youth Technology Center was to provide an educational and recreational environment for the Boyle Heights community.
The newly constructed two-story building occupies approximately 200,000 square feet with a total construction cost of $7,300,000. The facility was opened to the public in September, 2006.
The project was designed by the City of Los Angeles, Bureau of Engineering, which also provided construction management. The building is organized on two levels: reception, waiting area, counseling and administrative offices on the lower; four computer training rooms on the upper. The north-south clerestory orientation exploits daylight and provided visual and auditory serenity from the two interior landscaped courtyards. Administrative offices and meeting rooms buffer noisy traffic and visual distractions from Fourth Street, and open to an interior cloister that physically connects administrative functions with reception, recreation and a multi-purpose training area. A community computer training classroom and the recreation center are located on the lower-level, both feature glass walls which face each other and are connected by an open-landscape courtyard. As an independent pavilion, the recreation area creates two courtyards. The lower courtyard, adjacent to the entry, is a tranquil intimate space that provides a visual introduction into the nature of the facility and a calm private setting for the required counseling spaces. To the east the upper courtyard provides a secure outdoor space adjacent to the recreation room and multi-purpose training area. The organization of the building is based on the intention of creating a nurturing learning, working and social environment that also incorporates high environmental standards for design and construction.
This facility has been registered with the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), the certifying organization that sets the standards for green building design, for certification under their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. The building design incorporates thoughtful site orientation for sun control; efficient mechanical and electrical systems; low-e double plate glass for all windows; photovoltaic panels for green energy generation; water efficient design for landscape and plumbing systems; and a reduction in the use of finish materials.
Built over an abandoned apartment building and liquor store, the facility has made a positive impact on the Boyle Height community. It revitalizes the area by introducing a safe learning area for at-risk youth and the housing community in the neighborhood. Every student at the center has a computer. Public transportation provides easy access to the facility which is also within walking distance of the public housing complex. Bureau of Engineering worked closely with the Community Development Department to ensure that the community participated in the design and construction process.