Reimagine Community Architecture

NCC, Little Burgundy
Workshop, in English and French, 1 February 2024 to 4 May 2024

How can history inform the future of the NCC in Little Burgundy so that it serves the needs and desires of residents today? How can youth imagine a community space through speculative and creative exploration?

The Negro Community Centre (NCC) was a renowned cultural centre founded by Reverend Charles Humphrey Este in the 1920s for the prosperity of the predominantly Black community in Montréal’s Sud-Ouest, which thrived in the early twentieth century. Housed by the basement of the United Union Church for many years until finding a new home at 2035 rue Coursol in 1955, it operated as a daycare, gathering space, recreation centre, kitchen, library, credit union office, youth programming space, and so much more. It supported the needs of Little Burgundy’s residents and was also an essential and vibrant hub for Black music, culture, and community until it’s closure in the 1990s.

In December 2022, the City of Montréal expressed their intent to revive the site and return it to community use. The creation of a community-centred environment deeply rooted in Montréal’s Black communities holds the potential to function as a living testament to history, and to foster new opportunities for the changing needs of the neighbourhood.

We recognize young people as experts in their environments and cultivators of social consciousness, and we implore them to let their voices be heard. This free 90 minute workshop with Vanessa Owusu-Piameng invites participants to develop their ideas for community spaces, breathing new life into the NCC and offering youthful insights, ideas, and opinions.

Workshop thematic

Building spaces that support communities

Learning objectives

Social studies – Understanding identity through shared history and gathering, analyzing what makes a good community space

History – Case study of the NCC as a historic Bblack community centre

Arts – Designing community spaces

This program will culminate in workshops for youth on 4 May, at CEDA in Little Burgundy, where community members and youth can re-imagine and design what the future of this site will behold.

This free workshop is offered on demand and any time until 4 May 2024, in either French or English.

We can come to your classroom or program or host you at the CCA. We can accommodate up to 40 participants per workshop. Please inquire for concessions for accessibility.

Schedule a workshop with us by contacting, or call 514 939 7001x 1365.

Children and families are welcome to join us for an iteration of this workshop at CEDA on 4 May!  For more details, subscribe to our newsletter.

We are also running a tandem weekly program from 3 February 2024 – 20 April 2024 for youth 12-17 as part of the Diverse Pasts and Near Futures – Reimagine Community Architecture project. This free program allows teens to dive deeper into the history and context of the NCC, and develop skills in collaboration, leadership, and design. If you are interested in participating, please find more information here.

These workshops are part of CCA’s initiative to increase engagement and accessibility of architecture education to youth of the BIPOC community through public programming. The program aims to engage youth through developing workshops and inclusive initiatives that spotlight BIPOC perspectives within architectural spaces. We approach this mission with creativity, imagination, and collaboration, forging a more inclusive and diverse future within the field of architecture for and from BIPOC perspectives. Please contact us if you wish to collaborate on program offering.

This workshop is made possible thanks to the support of Scotiabank.


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