Shabazz Center: Learning from the Hajj

Miya Liwen He
Louisa Gutenberger
Nicole Lin
Tiffany Chen
Inspired by Malcolm X’s Hajj to Mecca, the concept for the space is to be a important experience for all who enter. Ahajj is the holiest pilgrimage to Mecca in the islamic faith. A quote from Malcolm X has written on his hajj says “... on this pilgrimage, what I have seen, and experienced, has forced me to rearrange much of my thought-patterns previously held,” and this inspired the idea that the Shabazz Center will help people lose their old prejudices, and continue learning and growing together.



Social Consciousness: Being aware and respectful of the struggles and injustices that have impacted disenfranchised communities, especially the ones we are designing for.

User-centeredness: design that is centered around the needs and goals of the user

Emotional appeal: the design should evoke emotions and create a connection with the user. It should be memorable, engaging, and inspiring.

Adaptive reuse: the process of converting buildings into new uses, while maintaining elements of the original design and structure.


Fighting for human rights goes beyond the protests, petitions, and advocacy, its conversations, education, re-entry programs, places where people feel safe and connected, and much more. The Shabazz center is intended to make a place that makes people feel free to be themselves, and have goals to move forward. Therefore, expanding the Shabazz center will help the disenfranchised communities all over the world gain rights and privileges they did not always have, and educate others on how to use their rights and privileges.



The space uses modern and African motifs to fit the user's culture. The space is progressively privatized by continuously lowering the ceiling height.


The first floor covers five programs in addition to the Administration, by creating a huge landing area that allows visitors to the building to choose the area they want to explore. Interactive boards with questions on the walls constantly capture the needs of the community and act as guides to lead people to explore the second floor or the basement.

Inside the Lobby, there is a small information desk with books with questions to guide people to the second floor, and inside the Legacy, there is a café, souvenir store, exhibition hall and information center. The exhibition hall has a skylight that looks into the basement, bringing in light and adding interest.

The second floor is mainly divided into the office area and the legacy derivative part, we still keep the original Audubon room and Malcolm was shot statue. The office area adopts different heights of the ceiling to create a sense of space. Audubon room is mainly designed with two different utilization schemes: a large lecture layout that can accommodate about two hundred people and a temporary exhibition layout. The style continues with the overall style of the building, incorporating African elements.

The basement contains the re-entry program and the security portion of the administration. This level has a computer classroom for seven people, where children and seniors from the community can learn computer skills. Because the original educational space had steps that were not easy for the elderly and ADA people to move around, the entire floor of this area was raised to be flush with the rest of the floor. The area is designed with a hydraulic lifting platform. The bookcases and seats can be raised and lowered. The elderly can choose to sit on the bookcases or be raised seating layout. Children can play freely in the sunken sofa layout.