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Southeast Raleigh Elementary and YMCA Honored with Community Impact Through Design Award

Photo of Southeast Raleigh Elementary and YMCA

Photo credit: Keith Isaacs Photography


On April 7, AIA Triangle, the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects, awarded its inaugural Community Impact Through Design Award to RATIO Architects for their design of the Southeast Raleigh Elementary School and Southeast Raleigh YMCA. The client team for this project included the Wake County Public School (WCPSS), YMCA of the Triangle, and Southeast Raleigh Promise


The Community Impact Through Design Award seeks to recognize built architectural projects that have catalyzed, reimagined, and advanced communities in the Triangle area for the purpose of serving the general public. This award celebrates architecture characterized by servitude and results in a project that is considered an invaluable community resource. This project was awarded as the unanimous choice of the Jury upon their review and consideration of 12 well-qualified and inspiring entries.


Watch the AIA Triangle video announcement of the Community Impact Through Design Award noting the inspiration for the award and highlighting the legacies of the two architects that inspired the award, Phil Freelon and Steve Schuster.


Award Evaluation Criteria:


Suitability & Community Engagement

  1. Local community stakeholders were involved in and engaged with the planning or design process.
  2. The project reflects the local community and is sensitive to its context.
  3. The design is a catalyst for progressing community building in its location.
  4. The design is people-centered. 

Places & Resources

  1. “Footprint vs. Handprint”: The project limits destruction of meaningful structures and nature while also improving the built improvement of the community.
  2. The design reimagines the potential of land and space for community use.
  3. The construction methods and materiality draw from local talent & resources.
  4. The place or facility is a steward of community resources.

Empowers & Uplifts

  1. The design embodies optimism.
  2. The design is inclusive and welcoming to all.
  3. The site and building(s) is/are universally accessible.
  4. The design surpasses preconceived notions and/or expectations about the project type.