Free to use and accessible community centers are a fundamental program for building inclusive cities. Most often, such a program is developed at the initiative of the public sector or through an NGO. Very rare does it happen for a corporation to acknowledge the stringent need for more social cohesion within a neighborhood and actually take the initiative, spending its own resources to develop and maintain a community center. In Bucharest, a city without a viable public strategy for community building, it is left to local NGOs or – in this case – corporations, to team up and develop much needed social infrastructure. This is how Cartier Hub came to be. We initially envisioned Cartier Hub as a much needed open and democratic stage for interaction, expression and creativity in the neighborhood. During the design process, we strived to achieve a synergy between our office’s larger vision for community-based urbanity and local identity, the initiator’s commercial brand values, while at the same time, prioritizing the expressed needs of the people in Drumul Taberei. It is our opinion that a community center must function as a common and familiar place for the various people in the neighborhood; a public feature with which one can interact organically, without the need for too many instructions. Instead of imposing a specific design style, it is more important that this space borrows from the identity and character of the community, while also allowing for the individual users to add their own personalities, in time. Cartier Hub is a dynamic environment, one that is easy to reconfigure for hosting a wide range of activities, so the design is based on simple elements: multifunctional furniture, warm colors and abundant plants. The all-glass partition walls allow for unexpected transparencies, clarity in reading the space and an energizing mood.
Author's presentation text
Wolfhouse is a design studio aimed at delivering innovative and sustainable solutions for architecture and emerging urban issues. With a focus on overlapping areas of urbanism, architecture, sociology and urban mega-trends, we chose to develop complex projects, with limited resources, that provide practical solutions for cities. Our expertise ranges from developing alternative working and living environments, to creating visionary projects for urban regeneration. Our experience in working with public institutions, local communities and corporations, has helped us build a comprehensive portfolio comprising of: prizes in national and international competitions, design & built architecture and public spaces, but also successfully implementing a series of, self-generated, placemaking projects. We will continue to base our work on architecture with a strong social impact and on creating practical and versatile urban environments that improve the quality of life in the city.