Pavillion at Geneva Community Center – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Pavillion at Geneva Community Center

Recent graduate Claire Leavengood-Boxer ’11 is using her architectural degree to positively impact the community that she called home for four years. As part of an internship with Geneva Neighborhood Resource Center (GNRC) this summer, she designed a pavilion that will be built at the Geneva Community Center as part of the Colleges’ KaBoom project. The GNRC provides complimentary architectural services (design ideas and contractor assistance) to city residents and the pavilion project was a request that Leavengood-Boxer was able to fulfill.

Leavengood-Boxer was selected by the architectural studies program as one of the GNRC summer interns for 2011. The GNRC was familiar with her creative approach to projects because she had previously completed a bike rack/bench as an independent project with classmate Ben Ahearn ’11. The piece currently sits outside the Exchange Street restaurant Opus. Leavengood-Boxer was also a leader in an HWS Architecture Society project this past spring to renovate a Geneva storefront, inside and out. The space is now occupied by the City’s newest tailor.

The Community Center site was formerly an agricultural field and now is a 14.6 acre park. Although many trees were planted on the site two years ago, the hot summer sun prohibits the Boys & Girls Club youth, senior citizen group, or other center users from gathering outside during the peak daytime hours. The pavilion is seen as a significant asset for groups wanting to gather outside and enjoy the park grounds.

In her pavilion proposal, Leavengood-Boxer describes her objective as intending “to create a simple, dynamic structure that the community can not only take part in constructing, but that can serve as a gathering place, whether at the community center or in other neighboring parks. The pavilion was designed to be basic and simple enough for the community to construct, while still maintaining a high level of ingenuity, innovation and functionality.” 

Assistant Professor of Architecture Kirin Makker noted that, as part of the project, Leavengood-Boxer had to do research, work with clients and make presentations, “All the while pulling from not just our architecture curriculum, but her liberal arts education.” 

“Claire’s pavilion is a fresh approach to the typical park pavilion with the reuse of moveable shipping pallets, atypical roofline, and sizing flexibility,” says Sage Gerling, community planner and landscape architectural designer with the GNRC. She and Staff Architect Nicole Martin coordinated the GNRC’s summer interns. “Claire is a creative, thorough and thoughtful designer who designed the pavilion after reviewing the park group’s needs, doing field research, and documenting case studies. She also reviewed her plans with one of our staff architects to deliver a more informed product.”

The pavilion idea has been well received by the Boys & Girls Club and Geneva Community Center board.

Leavengood-Boxer graduated with her B.A. in architectural studies, cum laude. She completed minors in environmental studies and studio art and was a member of the William Smith soccer team. She also participated in the semester abroad program in Copenhagen, Denmark, a program popular with architecture students due to the city’s sustainable efforts. Additionally, she interned with a design firm in Bethesda, Md., called Belisle Design. Leavengood-Boxer, is a member of American Institute of Architects Students (AIAS). 

In the future, she intends to take a five-month architecturally based, cross-country road trip beginning in January with two fellow architecture majors, Kelsey McLaughlin ’11 and Kate Giglio ’11. Leavengood-Boxer is applying to graduate programs in architecture, which she hopes to begin next fall.

Funding for the pavilion is being provided by the Office of the President and Office of the Provost, through an allocated portion of their budget for community service projects.