The site plan for the San Pablo Community Center demonstrates the insight that is revealed through community participation. Before meeting with the community, the design team won a competition for the project by envisioning a Mission-style courtyard, believing this would resonate with the community’s Mission history.
Rather than share these ideas with the community, the team decided to collectively analyze the full range of site plan options and then asked the residents to create their own plans. The result was a community center landscape that located the majority of the public space, including the tot-lot and community garden plots, in front of the building. Residents recognized that this location would make the outdoor spaces safe, visible and actively used for their specific community. After this conceptual phase, a representative steering committee met regularly through the construction document phase and played an indispensable role in resolving the challenges that arise when transitioning concept plans to construction documents.