Pharrell Williams has established his new Pharrell Williams Youth Center, aimed at helping to “make the world a better place.” Teaming with architect Chad Oppenheim, the N.E.R.D. front man has built a cutting edge centre in his native Virginia Beach, Virginia, with plans to open the establishment in 2012.

“I wanted to provide people with the same opportunities I got. My teachers didn’t let me go until I had realised my potential,” he told Wallpaper. “They taught me to fight my way out of a paper bag. Children need guidance and creative discipline and someone to be there when they fall. They also need a safe haven. At the moment, arts organisations across the US are having their funding cut and we can’t let that happen. There’s so little regard for creative skills. Where would we be without design?”

The Neptunes producer explained how he came up with the design, which is shaped in a “series of rectilinear volumes that appear to hover above the ground and nestle among the trees.” “I talked about the DNA of the building,” he said of working with Oppenheim. “I want it to be a safe haven for children and a place that challenges them, encouraging them to be curious. We had a very easy creative dialogue.”

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