St. Matthews Church donates land and rent-free space to create the Village Exchange Center
AURORA — In response to the St. Matthew’s congregation’s desire to support the region’s refugee and immigrant population, Radian Inc. and OZ Architects is working with the church to successfully donate four parcels of land to Village Exchange Center (VEC). This new nonprofit was formed to create programs, provide services and host cultural activities, becoming a “one stop shop” to support integration, community engagement and the empowerment of newly arrived communities. St. Matthew’s congregants unanimously approved the land donation in addition to rent-free worship space in their existing facility, and in March 2017, land ownership was transferred to the VEC.
“We are proud to partner with the Village Exchange Center to move forward their mission in providing services and safe space for recent refugees. As a community, we need to come together and establish welcoming spaces for individuals and families escaping injust circumstances,” says Tim Reinen, Executive Director at Radian | Placematters, a Denver based non-profit architecture and urban planning group.
Nearly 21% of Aurora’s 335,000 residents were born outside of the United States, this is the highest percentage in Metro Denver. As a community center and multi-faith worship space, the VEC will create bridges between people and communities, both locally and globally, through organic and co-located programs.
“OZ Architects and Radian | Placematters were selected through a competitive RFP process to design the VEC. The partnership highlights OZ’s exceptional design work and Radian | Placematters’ innovative community design work. OZ and Radian | Placematters are teaming up to produce designs to facilitate refugee programming with initial design efforts focusing on creating a safe, welcoming space for refugees through serving, connecting, and celebrating.” – Amanda Blaurock
“The catalytic development of this site will benefit thousands of Coloradans monthly, fulfilling St. Matthew’s mission to support community while leaving a legacy that will positively impact generations of families. Oz and Radian | Placematters plan to complete design work in late 2017 and construction of a new center is planned to begin in summer of 2018.” – Steve Brooks
Community Centered Design