Housing non-profit Asian Americans for Equality are set to open a large new community and entrepreneurship center in Flushing, Queens that will be located at the corner of College Point Boulevard and 39th Avenue. The seven-story structure will span 90,000 square feet and is being designed in collaboration between JCJ Architecture and Leong Leong.
The architects wanted to, "design a progressive building form modeled after the concept of holding hands and interweaving fingers – a physical presence to match the social symbol for community empowerment," Peter Bachmann, a principal at JCJ and the executive architect on the project said in a statement.
Apart from housing, AAFE also provides social services and community development programs and is known for its work with immigrant communities in New York. At the Flushing building, AAFE’s offices will be located on the fourth floor, and the rest of the building will be open for a variety of uses.
Plans so far call for an outdoor plaza on the ground floor that will connect to a 5,000-square-foot public market. The second floor will be configured in such a way that it can be used for a variety of events, meetings, exhibitions, and performances. This floor also comes with a large terrace. The third floor will house a business incubator that will provide the neighborhood’s businesses a co-working space, and an area to collaborate. Floors five through seven will offer additional office space.
The architects have also designed a three-story staircase that starts at the base of the structure. This creates a seating area for the market on the ground floor, and on the second and third floor, it can be used for events, performances, and screenings.
The structure is also designed in such a way that the lower floors, specifically the first and second floors have more of a transparent facade to demarcate them as public spaces, and the higher floors have a more opaque facade to create a sense of privacy.
"This building will allow AAFE to reach its fullest potential, supporting our mission to generate small business opportunities, provide local services and foster community interaction," Christopher Kui, AAFE’s Executive Director, said in a statement. Construction on the project is expected to wrap up in 2018.