A suburb in Southwest Harris County, Texas, the Alief community is the most diverse neighborhood in one of the country’s most diverse cities. To meet this unique area’s needs, the Alief Neighborhood Center is the first facility in Houston intentionally designed to incorporate a health center, library, and community center into one facility.
The new, 70,000-square-foot center and renovated park are home to after-school and summer-enrichment programs, youth recreation leagues, and activities for seniors. The public library provides access to books and technology. The center houses a Women, Infants, and Children clinic and expands Houston Health Department’s Diabetes and Wellness Network.
Community engagement was critical to understanding what makes Alief unique and how best to address local needs. Conceived as a result of extensive outreach conversations, the center brings vital public health programs to the neighborhood and serves every age group, showcasing amenities such as music and video makerspaces, art room, fitness center, swimming pool, recreational fields, and nature trails. Families can gather in a food truck area for weekend markets or listen to music on the event lawn. Students “catch air” at the Skate Park and sprint up Mount Alief, the up-hill running track.
Featuring the “Biggest Front Porch in Texas” — a large, covered porch that serves as a gathering place for people to come together and share ideas — the center gives expression to the diverse community unique to Alief. From the porch, visitors are welcomed by a floor-to-ceiling glass entry lobby that frames views of the park and reinforces a strong relationship between interior and exterior activities.
Raised out of the floodplain, the Alief Neighborhood Center is a model for resilient design in a post-Hurricane Harvey environment — a respite for those seeking shelter and a long-awaited nucleus for the Alief neighborhood.
Energy Use Intensity
Below the AIA 2030 Baseline
- 70,000 GSF
- 38-acre urban site
Set in a 38-acre renovated park, the 70,000 SF LEED Silver Alief Community Center leverages synergies between the Houston Health, Parks, and Library Departments for the benefit of residents with a special focus on community engagement, identity, and overall wellbeing.
Building A Community
Community engagement was critical to the success of the design of the new community center.