Concrete Jungle to Become a Safe Haven for Mexico’s Marginalized Kids

Architecture firm CCA designed a starkly brutalist space for a distinctly humane purpose. This new campus for the State of Mexico's Club de Niños y Niñas (Boys and Girls Club) in Ecatepec, labeled as the most dangerous city in Mexico, will act as a safe space for marginalized youth. It will offer them both recreational activities and an extracurricular program that is more educational in nature.

The combination of a lack of public and safe recreational spaces and a high rate of violence and uncertainty in the area of Ecatepec can damage the local social fabric and seriously set back the development of children and teens, according to CCA. With the campus of the Boys and Girls Club, the firm aims to provide a safe haven within a compromised area. The Club encourages young people of the age 6-18 years old to explore their interests, skills, and talents through a five-pillar program, focusing on art, sports, human development, nutrition, and life skills.

Conceptually, the design traces back to the handbook of the Boys and Girls Club of America. It lays out key elements for children’s wellbeing, as well as the spaces needed for formative programs. This translated into three buildings, each with their own character, but similar in terms of their modular composition. The educational building houses computer rooms, a library and a kitchen, among others, while in the arts building you can find a semi-open auditorium and larger spaces for dance and such. The sports building consists of a large covered area, providing space for a variety of sports.

The clean brutalist aesthetic of the construction phase versus the lively renderings by CCA

While still in the construction phase, the sleek, yet deserted brutalist aesthetic of the concrete structures caught the attention of architecture aficionados around the world. As can be seen in CCA’s artist impressions, reality will present an atmosphere much more lively and buzzing with activity. The abstraction of the concrete will be offset by the safety of an environment bulging with opportunity. In that light, the purpose of this new campus space is similar — yet less color-blocking in nature — to that of this bright blue sports court in another marginalized area of Mexico City. The projects share a common spirit, dedicated to the uplifting of Mexico City’s youth and providing them with an alternative to a life in crime.