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Lakewood YMCA wins architecture award

Lakewood YMCA wins architecture award

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Long Beach/South Bay Chapter has awarded the recently renovated Weingart-Lakewood Family YMCA at Carson Street and Woodruff Avenue with a 2015 Design Award for the building’s transparency, openness and visual presence from the street.

“This recognition is particularly important because it shows that even a non-profit, with limited means, can garner a design award amongst projects with seemingly unlimited budgets,” said Bob Murrin, President of the AIA Long Beach/South Bay Chapter. “The YMCA and the architectural firm of Studio One Eleven, of Long Beach, should be commended for having the vision and understanding that good design is good for business and the community.”

Notable features of the new YMCA building include the fitness center located on the second level with floor-to-ceiling glass to maximize vistas of the pool and Heartwell Park across the street. The fitness center has earned the nickname of the “tree house.” The original small lobby of the YMCA was replaced with a double-height corridor. Windows fill the space with natural light and establish a clear circulation spine linking all the spaces in the building.

The size of the YMCA has doubled to 32,000 square feet, adding an exercise room, family changing area, yoga room, teen center and teaching kitchen. Child care, adventure guide and administration facilities were expanded and improved. And the basketball courts, locker rooms and racquetball courts were refurbished.

The improvements reinforce the YMCA's mission of encouraging healthy living, learning and a sense of community. The $6 million addition and refurbishment of the Weingart-Lakewood Family YMCA can accommodate a 50% increase to the facility’s existing 5,000-person membership.

“This facility will be a beacon to the community,” said Alfredo Velasco, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Long Beach. “We’re all about creating community, and now we have the right space to do so."

“The expanded Weingart-Lakewood Family YMCA is smart, new, and well-considered architecture,” said Lakewood historian emeritus Don Waldie. “It’s essential that an older suburban community find ways to interpret the past in its future. Sensitive to its context, the YMCA addition admirably meets the needs of Lakewood’s 21st century residents while recalling the optimism of mid-century design.”

Residents should feel free to stop by to view the new facility and check out its services and programs.  For details go to or call them at 562-425-7431.