The first Boys & Girls Club that Rural Studio built in Akron, an isolated small town in northern Hale County, was not able to be incorporated by the national Boys & Girls Club of America. The ongoing community concern over the welfare and protection of the children of Akron, where drug-use and dropout rates are critically high, prompted the Studio to design and build a second Boys & Girls Club (completed in 2007) that would qualify for membership. Having both learned from the previous experience and thoroughly investigated the needs of the community, the project team raised funds, helped create an organizational structure for the club, and programmed the building for a semester prior to design.
The team decided to build on a centrally located and city-owned site across from Akron’s town hall. In this location, the social hub and central meeting place for the community, the new Boys & Girls Club would invite communal interactions and contribute to the urban fabric of the existing buildings. The building was designed to be composed of two forms: a traditional stud-framed building for the clubhouse and a lamella structure to act as a covered pavilion for the basketball court.