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Community Health Shelter: A Home for the Homeless

Arta developed a dignified approach to shelter design that combines healthcare services (practitioner clinics and Acute Respite Care), administrative services (social workers and case managers ’offices and interview rooms), food services, and residential units (both short-term sleeping pods and transitional housing units) in one building to reduce barriers to access as a result of services’ dispersion across the city. This holistic and empathy-rooted approach goes beyond the building’s programming and is reflected in our team’s design concept. The building is organized around a sky-lit central “street” or atrium that welcomes clients from the sidewalk and connects them to various programs within the building. The street is designed with comfort and dignity in mind to facilitate a healing journey. It includes trees, a water feature, natural stone paving, and large skylights to draw natural light. Suspended over the water feature is also an Indigenous ceremony pavilion. Natural light penetrates into the atrium through the perforated design of the pavilion’s skin to create a space of solitude and allow for healing that goes beyond individuals’ physical bodies. The ascending journey lands in a large community roof garden that can provide food for the kitchens, and act as a space for outdoor gardening workshops and peer support. Phase 1 of the project was completed shortly after the pandemic in June 2020, as an emergency response to COVID-19. This homeless shelter is one of the first shelters globally that was redesigned based on social distancing. Given the multi-faceted and sensitive nature of the project, we implemented an integrated design process that incorporated the perspectives and expertise of all consultants and collaborators from the early stages of the design process. With their help Arta Architects successfully secured a prestigious national grant due to the project’s energy efficiency and the accessibility features. Our dignity-focused, empathetically-driven, and collaborative approach to design were crucial in creating a facility that provides a sense of safety to its clients, can impact individuals long-term, and facilitate their journeys towards healing and stability. Our participatory methods to assist our non-for-profit client in defining the project's true essence and our approach to its design can set a precedent for other shelters across North America. Type: Community Health Shelter Location: Winnipeg, MB Area: 30,000 Sq.Ft. Budget: 17M Client: Main Street Project Collaborators: Crosier & Kilgore, Tower Engineering

Type: Community Health Shelter
Location: Winnipeg, MB
Area: 30,000 Sq.Ft.
Budget: 17M
Client: Main Street Project
Collaborators: Crosier & Kilgore, Tower Engineering

32 Sousa Mendes Street,
Toronto, Ontario,
Canada, M6P 0B2

info@artaarchitects.com
+1 416 838 5599

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