Illustration by Pete Sucheski
Vessel Architecture & Design’s residential campus for Boys Hope Girls Hope St. Louis is the first of its kind for the nonprofit organization.
Forty years ago, BHGH started with one center in St. Louis; today it runs 15 campuses across the United States and three locations overseas. BHGH’s mission is to enroll youth in school and provide living facilities for the kids until they’ve completed high school.
Peter Schwartz, Vessel’s principal architect, managed the Emerson Campus project.
“We do fairly regular work for not-for-profits here at Vessel, and we just love doing projects like this that can help make a difference in the lives of the people that use our buildings,” he says. “We’d love to do some more things like this… It was an honor to collaborate with them and to help bring their dreams to life.”
Scholars moved in last summer after almost a year of construction. Vessel gave each house its own exterior and interior design concepts. The three homes, built side by side, fit nicely into their Richmond Heights neighborhood. Ten boys live in the red house and 10 girls in the blue house, with two scholars per bedroom and offices in between.
Schwartz says a “sibling-like atmosphere” develops on campus.
“Uniting all of their functions on one campus offered big advantages, but we didn’t want efficiency at the expense of a home-like feel,” he says.