Press Release

Gualala Community Center

Gualala, California - San Francisco based architecture office Figure, led by architects James Leng and Jennifer Ly, has been awarded the Gualala Community Center Rebuilding Project by the Gualala Community Center Board of Directors. The resulting unanimous vote came after a rigorous public request for proposal process led by the Gualala Community Center Rebuilding Committee. “The architect selection process was a pivotal step in shaping the future of the rebuilding project. The Board of Directors and its Rebuilding Committee interviewed several well qualified local and out-of-area architects, and several key factors were considered for selection. Figure’s vision, aesthetic, knowledge of our community, and above all, their passion and energy for the project resonated with everyone,” says Nancy Gastonguay, President of the Board.

The original 1954 community center building was lost by arson fire on February 14, 2023. As a focal point in the community, the facility hosted a variety of organizations and events such as the bimonthly Pay n’ Take sale, Coastal Seniors, Lions Club and Rotary Club activities, and community performances. The replacement facility will be redesigned with updated programming, modernized energy, water-efficiency, resilience features, and compliance with current accessibility requirements. Gastonguay reflects, “rebuilding the community center isn't just about bricks and mortar; it's about rebuilding the heart of our community and building a space where our community members can gather and create new memories. It’s important that this new community center is accessible and welcoming to all and allows for the flexibility required to adapt to the current and changing needs of our community.”

In addition to the rebuilding project, Figure is joined by San Francisco and Los Angeles based Landscape Architecture office Terremoto to reimagine the master plan of the Community Center Campus, which extends from the edge of Highway 1 into the redwood foothills towards the East.

Gastonguay says the ambition of the site master planning “extends beyond the blueprints and layout; it's about crafting a vision for the future, one that combines functionality, sustainability, and aesthetics to create an inspiring environment for generations to come. Our goal in site master planning is to meet the needs of our richly diverse and ever-evolving community by designing spaces that are inclusive, adaptable, and reflective of our community. We want to create environments where everyone feels welcome and valued.”

Gastonguay further adds, “The public engagement process is crucial as we recognize the urgency of expediting the rebuild. Involving the community in planning ensures that we incorporate their insights, needs, and aspirations, allowing us to make informed decisions and expedite the rebuilding process efficiently, with their support and trust.” The Board of Directors hosted a series of community meetings and online surveys to gather community input for the new center. Once a preliminary design has been created, a public meeting will be scheduled to share it with the greater community. The Board of Directors and the Rebuilding Committee will work closely with the architect and its consultant team in an expedited schedule that targets a construction start date in late 2024.

Location: Gualala, CA
Client: Gualala Community Center Board of Directors
Year: 2023–
Type: Civic
Status: In Development

Design Team: Figure (Architect), Terremoto (Landscape Architect),Huffman Engineering & Surveying (Civil Engineers), Reese & Associates (Geotechnical Engineers), Ware Associates (Structural Engineers), MHC Engineering (MEP Engineers), and Cosine (Lighting Designer)