Architecture Around Us: Building Strength in Urban Communities: The Architecture of the YMCA


The Young Men’s Christian Association was founded in London in 1844. For young men who emigrated from the countryside to the city to take part in the Industrial Revolution, the YMCA provided a wholesome alternative to taverns and street corners. The first associations met in members’ apartments or rented rooms, but by the end of the 19th century, YMCAs were constructing their own, purpose-built buildings. The early 20th century was the heyday of the YMCA, when the association built hundreds of buildings in the United States and developed a distinctive typology for its unique program combining social, religious, recreational, and residential uses.

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