ACT (Advocates for Community Transformation) is an inner-city justice ministry based in West Dallas. ACT’s mission is to represent inner-city residents and mobilize volunteer legal teams in order to hold the owners of drug houses and abandoned properties accountable. ACT’s legal work addresses this need through an ongoing casework approach supported by a strategy for structural prevention. In order to continue seeking transformation in these neighborhoods, ACT has determined that it is crucial to establish a permanent presence in West Dallas by building its own office. The new office will allow the organization to grow its work as well as demonstrate that ACT is committed long-term to the West Dallas community.
bcWORKSHOP has begun the process to design a new headquarters for Advocates for Community Transformation. This process has involved a series of staff and stakeholder meetings to determine project intentions, building program, and site strategy. The goal is to ensure that the building is driven by and enhances ACT’s mission and responds to the West Dallas context and community.
From a quality model exercise, priorities identified for the design included:
- Interior qualities - The ACT team needs an environment that supports its work with quiet places to concentrate as well as team orientated spaces where collaborations flourish. Carefully placed thresholds will allow ACT to showcase its work to visitors as well as maintain confidentiality of its strategy and clients. The office should feel welcoming, homelike and safe to all employees, guests and clients.
- Safety/Security - The building and property needs to be safe and secure for all employees,guests and clients. Measures such as a secure building envelope, secure thresholds, clear separations between private and public spaces and additional security technology will all be explored to create the necessary level of safety for the site and building.
- Engineering Performance - Heating and cooling systems should be chosen based on efficiency and life cycle costs. A robust and flexible IT infrastructure will insure technical connectivity throughout the entire building.
- Community Values - The project should reflect ACT’s commitment to being a stable presence in the community as well as a safe place for its clients and staff. The building is a physical investment in the neighborhood that should reflect ACT’s mission to transform communities through thoughtful and diligent work.The scale and intimacy of the building should reflect its neighborhood.
Three schematic design options have been created by bcW and presented to key stakeholders. In the upcoming months bcW, with direction from ACT and an approved budget, will further develop the building strategy. Once the schematic design is approved, bcWORKSHOP will compile a funding package featuring the proposed building, design process, and a preliminary budget.