Center for Social Justice

Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership’s design – delivered by Studio Gang Architecs – is visually open and activated by daylight, encouraging convening in configurations that begin to break down psychological and cultural barriers between people.

Studio Gang Architecs, Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA. Photo © Iwan Baan
Historically, convening for social justice has taken place in informal settings – a church basement, a living room, or even around a kitchen table.
The Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership brings these discussions up from the basement and squarely into public consciousness.
Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership
Studio Gang Architecs, Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA. Photo © Iwan Baan
The Arcus Center works to develop emerging leaders and sustain existing leaders in the fields of human rights and social justice. As a learning environment and meeting space, it brings together students, faculty, visiting scholars, social justice leaders, and members of the public for conversation and activities aimed at creating a more just world.
Supporting this important work, the center’s design is visually open and activated by daylight. The plan encourages convening in configurations that begin to break down psychological and cultural barriers between people and help facilitate understanding. The presence of a living room, hearth, and kitchen for sharing food at the center of the building creates the potential for frequent informal meetings and casual, chance encounters.
Studio Gang Architecs, Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA. Photo © Iwan Baan
Studio Gang Architecs, Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA. Photo © Iwan Baan
The wood masonry utilized for the building’s exterior is a low-tech and relatively inexpensive method of building assembly used to achieve a high-performance facade. The wood walls sequester more carbon than was released in building them, responding to today’s need to reduce carbon pollution – one of many environmental issues embraced by social justice movements.

Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA
Program : public building
Architects : Studio Gang Architects
Client : Kalamazoo College
Completion : 2014

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