The Center for Culture and Community, a research project by network of architecture (noa*), stands as a model for any community building anywhere in the world. Noa* worked with a philosophy that a community center should meet the needs of all members of the neighborhood.

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A triangular structure fit with other triangular buildings in a forest

Dubbed CeCuCo: play your own way, the prototype project was not designed for a specific community, but rather an example of what’s possible anywhere. The design is modular in nature to accommodate a variety of needs. 

Related: Public transport roof in China turns into a community space

Multiple triangular structures laid out side by side beside a beach

The architects at noa* began with the basic concept of a triangle. They then connected various sizes together. In this case, the smallest size could function as a ticket office, while the largest triangular section could serve as an auditorium or theater. 

A cafe that has repeated triangular design on the roof and on the walls

The idea is to allow the spaces to be whatever the citizens need rather than pre-designating a specific function. In this way, the size and number of triangles can be adapted to the needs of each community. Natural materials from, and suited to, the region are also addressed to allow for supplies that are available. It would also allow materials that function well in the specific environment where the structure is located.  

Multiple triangular structures stacked and fit against each other interspersed with the sustainability aspects for each community

Sustainable design is at the core of each building. As climate allows, a pergola over a large section provides natural shading. This could be used as a play area, meditation area or seating area for events. 

An outside stone stairway leading up toward a building that lays on the second level

Drawing on passive design, the doors and windows open in different directions from one side to the other to encourage cross-ventilation and natural cooling. The technique helps maintain a comfortable temperature while lowering energy consumption.

Walls with triangle doorway cutouts where people are talking to each other

Around the building, the landscape creates a microclimate forest of dense trees and other plants. Some roofs are equipped with gardens that further assist in natural cooling by shading the rooftop and interior. Rainwater collection feeds the rooftop gardens, as well as the ponds and other landscaping. Other roofs include solar panels that provide energy for the needs of the spaces.

A glass triangular designed roof with people walking around underneath an area with trees and grass

CeCuCo’s flexible, yet sustainable architecture allows for the building to react to climates that vary from desert to coast. While the “chess pieces” can be moved around for the right size and shape in the building as a whole, individual parts like doors and windows can be moved, raised, lowered or built in different sizes. In the end, the result of the research project CeCuCo is a modular space that can be used by children who want to play and adults who want to see play.

Pyramid shaped structures with people standing outside of it

“This cultural center could be located on a beach on a volcanic island, in the Scandinavian forests, on an abandoned lot in Detroit or on the roofs of socialist housing in Berlin,” said noa*. “It is an architecture able to mold itself to the morphological and climatic requirements of the context while maintaining intact the concept of sociality and interaction between the building and those who live in it.”

+ noa* network of architecture

Images via Omega Render