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St. John’s Bread and Life

Brooklyn, NY

We created a welcoming, comfortable and efficient soup kitchen and community resource center in New York’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. The client, St. John’s Bread and Life, provides daily meals as well as literacy classes, job placement programs, legal assistance, and related services to its Brooklyn and Queens patrons. We organized the project’s programming sequence so that patrons drawn to the popular food programs would also come into contact with the center’s social services. The library, for example, offering resume help and computer access, is located along the largely transparent street front and is visible to everyone who enters the dining area. We worked within a tightly constrained budget to convert the former factory warehouse into a series of gracious spaces that take advantage of the existing structure’s eccentricities. The main dining room ceiling, for example, is lit with overscaled custom light fixtures that negotiate an irregular column grid and were more affordable, and more distinctive, than most off-the-shelf options. Bread and Life is often cited by our staff who worked on it as one of the most rewarding projects in their architectural portfolio.

AIA New York State Award of Excellence 2009