Crittenton Community Center

Directions for Youth & Families

By DesignGroup

The Directions for Youth and Families (DFYF) serves the most vulnerable youth in Columbus. The new Crittenton Community Center, in form, function, and mission, focuses on providing equitable, trauma-informed resources to youth in a community that generally has little access to these types of programs and facilities. 

The owner’s design vision to openly meet the community inspired the building’s undulating roof form. The form of the building also creates outdoor spaces that cater to different types of programming for children. A more public-facing courtyard contains a community garden, splash pad, and amphitheater, while a private outdoor space provides secluded spaces for play.

The building’s layout places a community “hub” facing the street that can act as a large flexible space where kids can gather for meals and other activities, and can be where community performances and meetings can occur. Multiple spaces to promote holistic wellbeing and growth for the community’s children are also included.

The building is designed to facilitate positive long-term outcomes for the community that are foundational to the DFYF organizational mission. A central understanding for approaching this project was that it was to be a means of community restoration – not neighborhood revitalization. This means that the community, and its people, were seen as deserving, as it currently exists, of a great building with great resources and welcoming, trained staff. Through partnerships with community organizations, the new Crittenton center provides access to resources such as poverty reduction initiatives, prenatal education, legal aid, and housing assistance. By creating spaces for these needed resources to the community, the Directions for Youth and Families leadership saw this project inherently as a social justice initiative fostering equitable opportunities for the community.

Duane Casares

Directions for
Youth & Families

“This initiative, this build, will restore hope to this community. Dreams and aspirations will thrive for generations to come. DesignGroup delivered what we envisioned.”

See The Other Winners

Architecture Winner

Crittenton Community Center

By DesignGroup

Architecture Honorable Mention

Mid-Ohio Farm


Graphic Design Winner

Equity Committee


Industrial Design Winner

Midmark Fully Connected Point Of Care Ecosystem

By Design Central

Interior Design Winner

Arc Industries


Judges Choice: Innovation in Design Thinking

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By MA Design

Student Winner

Deconstructed Celebration

By Shazia Waggoner

Conceptual Design Winner