Philadelphia Juvenile Justice Center

Philadelphia Juvenile Justice Center

The proposed City of Philadelphia Youth Center replaces the existing detention facility constructed in 1952. Continuing maintenance and operational problems related to poor conditions and inappropriate spaces for the population now served prompted juvenile court officials to pursue a new facility conforming to advanced professional standards. In addition, the new Youth Center will incorporate a juvenile courts component, intake
and diversion programs, and headquarters for all community-based detention alternatives.

Secure residential areas will provide comprehensive education and recreation spaces for a capacity of 152 juveniles. Housing features 10 bed units grouped in clusters of 30 for general population and eight bed units in groups of 24 for special populations.

Despite its urban setting, juvenile justice authorities sought a non-institutional physical plant with smaller housing units, bedrooms in each unit on a single level, and extensive outdoor areas. Stacking options for all facility components were explored to determine the site footprint required for a facility ranging from two to five stories. A two story solution was selected to minimize vertical circulation and to minimize the scale of the building to romote community acceptance. Site investigation was based on this determination.

Courts areas include two hearing rooms and associated public waiting, office and support areas. The onsite hearing function was sought to minimize costly transport to central courts and to expedite the hearing process. Architectural programming for this project indicated a total project size of 138,000 gross square feet for all secure residential and non-secure courts and services areas. This includes space allocated for community meetings and events as a means of inviting the public to the facility and promoting a good neighbor policy.