Homeless No More Education Facility
Homeless No More
Homeless No More’s new 5,000-sf Education Facility serves approximately 150 families each year. Located in the heart of HNM’s growing campus, the new facility centralizes educational support for children, teens, and adults. It is home to the life skills curriculum, including career development, and after-school and summer childcare. The building has become not just a hub for activity but also an anchor in the community it serves.
Inspired by Homeless No More’s (HNM) dedication to this community, the design team drew parallels with the mission of South Carolina’s historic Rosenwald Schools. Built between 1917 and 1932, funds provided by Sears and Roebuck President Julius Rosenwald assisted in the construction of more than 5,000 school buildings across the American South, including 500 schools in South Carolina. These schools played a key role in educating South Carolina’s African-American children. In an era when the state provided minimal support for black communities, Rosenwald schools often served as a beacon for education and community pride. Columbia’s historic Kendalltown School, a Rosenwald School known locally as the Leevy School, once stood less than a mile from HNM’s campus. Although no longer extant, the Leevy School represented the community’s commitment to education. It symbolized hope for a better future, much like the HNM Education Facility does today.
The new Education Facility pays homage to this long-lost element of neighborhood history. It incorporates elements reminiscent of the original Rosenwald plans: natural light, prominent gables, and simple materials. It adapts the vernacular language for a new space with modern needs. Deep overhanging eaves, a covered central entry porch, and tall windows recall old Rosenwald plans. Residential scale and massing provide a sense of comfort and familiarity, and high window placement in the lobby and classrooms allow for natural light while providing additional clear wall space and added security.
While the building’s exterior elements are nostalgic, the interior is decidedly contemporary. Interior classroom entrances include a combination of glass doors and sidelights to allow for borrowed daylight and sightlines throughout the building. Brightly colored light fixtures, wall graphics, and furniture pop against muted gray interior walls. Abstract-shaped felt light fixtures and luxury vinyl tile flooring provide visually appealing acoustic treatments in the lobby. An oversized graphic area rug in the library exudes the youthful energy of the space while underscoring its home-like atmosphere. Comfortable, moveable furniture enables the teen room to function as both a lounge space and a learning space. Classroom casework provides sinks, lockable wardrobes, and cubbies with storage space above, creating spaces that serve large groups but still feel like home. Lobby casework is designed to house the children’s library and storage to tuck the playful stools away when the lobby is open to other functions.
The new Education Facility helps a modern nonprofit organization fulfill its mission to solve some of South Carolina’s oldest problems.
Photography by Brian Dressler and Megan Newbold.
2022 Citation Award – New Construction
AIA – Greater Columbia Section