St. Stephen’s Community House Shade Structure Design Mentorship Program

Thank you, Madeline Lunney and Geoff Grayhurst, for your thoughtfulness and generosity towards making the first phase in this joint St. Stephen’s and SUSTAINABLE.TO Shade Structure Project for 260 Augusta Avenue’s program participants and Odette Place residents, a wonderful success!

When SUSTAINABLE.TO was approached to design this much-needed shade structure for the front facade of the building, we thought it to be the perfect opportunity to engage the people that come to our programs and live in the building to design it themselves. An 8 week mentorship program was set up, where all members of St. Stephen’s were invited to partake in the design process, as no one knows more about what the building needs than the users themselves.

Through brainstorming, physical modelling, and digital 3D modelling, many options were explored, addressing themes of sun angles, materials, rain water collection, structure, colour, form, and microclimate. By using freely available computer modelling software called SketchUp, community members were able to put their designs into action, and visualize them in context, as well as their resulting shade.

A final design was ultimately reached to the satisfaction of all involved. Our participants enjoyed the workshops, the sense of authorship, and the opportunity to contribute to the design. They hope to pass on their knowledge and experiences to others in the community. The next step is to move forward with the real construction on the front of the building.

The unique opportunity to have the design mentorship program reinforces St. Stephen’s vision of an inclusive community in which harmony, empowerment and opportunity create social and economic justice and a better quality of life for all.