Black History Month: Projects That Celebrate, Educate, and Engage
Bialek is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in our workplace – as well as the projects we are a part of! In honor of February’s designation as Black History Month, let’s take a look at projects we’ve collaborated on that celebrate, educate, and engage in the empowerment of communities, voices, and livelihoods. Read more below!
Celebrate History at MLK Jr. Library
Working with design firms OTJ Architects and Mecanoo, Bialek outfitted the revamped Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library with functional, inviting and iconically furnished spaces for learning. These invigorated spaces included a new double-height reading room, areas designated for teens and children, the “Dream Lab” (an open collaboration, tech sharing space), as well as numerous community engagement program-areas throughout 100,000 sf. This historical space embodies MLK Jr’s own commitment to celebrating and ensuring the respect of Black communities, disadvantaged peoples, and un-voiced activists.
This public project will touch our DC community as a whole - and continue to provide access to invaluable education for generations to come.
Francine Houben, principal, founding partner and creative director of Mecanoo, says: “We have been guided by Martin Luther King’s timeless values and implemented them in this, the most important library for the people of America’s capital.”
Engage in the Community at DC Central Kitchen
Bialek is working with ZGF Architects to complete DC Central Kitchen’s (DCCK) new DC Headquarters, coming soon. This cutting-edge, 36,000 sf space will serve as a community-gathering space, with every area being designed to serve multiple functions.
DCCK is an iconic nonprofit and social enterprise that combats hunger and poverty through job training and job creation. The organization provides hands-on culinary job training for individuals facing high barriers to employment while creating living wage jobs and bringing nutritious, dignified food where it is most needed. DCCK also provides health initiatives for school lunches, corner-stores, and ‘community’ meals for nonprofits, shelters, and youth-groups.
CEO Mike Curtin Jr. says, “We need to be in a place that signified the value and dignity and respect of the work we do...This new space is designed to bring everyone around the table.” (Full Article Here: https://wtop.com/dc/2021/10/dc-central-kitchen-stirs-up-hunger-fighting-mission-with-new-headquarters-fundraising-campaign/)
Recently, DCCK participated in Black History Month themselves with special programming that celebrated Black Health and Wellness with healthy foods for kids!
“DC Central Kitchen created themed lunches for every Thursday of the month that highlighted Black athletes along with a healthy and balanced meal. ‘I think it’s important because of what we represent at DC Central Kitchen: We use food as a tool for empowerment,’ said Chef Anand...’To show students a recipe from their culture heightens their awareness of the history behind the foods they eat at school and at home, and I love being a part of that.” (Full story here: https://dccentralkitchen.org/2022/02/21/healthy-school-foods-celebrates-black-health-and-wellness/)