Written by: Paul Dowsett
EGALE CENTRE - Transitional Housing for LGBTQ2S Youth without Homes 257 Dundas Street East, Toronto
SUSTAINABLE.TO Architecture + Building is proud to be leading the design for this game-changing facility — the 1st in Canada, and only the 9th in the world!
We are working with a fantastic team, including: EGALE Canada Human Rights Trust, and their colleagues at Dixon Hall and Fife House - the Clients; Daniels Corporation - Developer; Yabu Pushelberg - Interior Designers; Atkins + Van Groll - Structural; Mott MacDonald - Mechanical & Electrical; Urban Garden - Landscape Design.
EGALE found a property in the right location—a former Toronto Community Housing Corporation facility near the intersection of Dundas and Sherbourne. The two existing buildings need some love. The result will be an Adaptive Reuse of the two existing structures. One is a circa 1870’s house fronting onto Dundas, and the other is a 1970’s small apartment building on Pembroke Street. This was designed by Jerome Markson, a prominent Toronto architect, and the author of the urban-enhancing, Market Square condominiums.
At the beginning, we enjoyed an authentic community-engaged design (aced) process through a charrette with a group of street-involved LGBTQ youth and various allied service providers. The enthusiasm and engagement in the process was palpable.
Based on this charrette, the project will include: 4 floors of self-contained, studio residences (some accessible and some with double-occupancy) for youth in the Jerome Markson building; 4 floors of communal spaces (including lounges; large, double kitchen; and dining area) and counselling and administration spaces in the 1870’s house; new, 5 storey link with a connecting grand stair; access to a rooftop outdoor green roof and gardening space; and universal access to the non-institutional, home-like facility, complete with indoor bike storage /mudroom and dog-wash stations.
The communal spaces will allow for the development of Life Skills — a great step forward from the outdated shelter model.
When the design was presented to the Garden District community, there were no objections — just concerns and advice from the neighbours to ensure the safety of the youth. Clearly a welcoming community … and a very unusual community meeting.
Top Ten Sustainable Features:
1. Adaptive Reuse of the Existing Brick Structures. Less material to landfill. Less virgin material for new construction. Maintain established neighbourhood character.
2. Better-than-Code Insulation, Air-Tightness, and Durable Exterior Materials. Roxul mineral wool insulation and corrugated Galvalume metal roofing, both with high-recycled content and fully-recyclable.
3. Upgraded Performance Windows, with vertical, translucent glass fins for solar shading on the west facade. LED lighting of the shading fins to tie parts of the facility together and to provide identity to the Egale Centre.
4. Accessibility, Transit-Oriented Location, with Indoor Bike Storage. 5. Mud Room. To control tracking in unwanted Indoor Air Quality pollutants.
6. Energy-Efficient Lighting and Mechanical Systems. Operable windows for natural ventilation.
7. Irresistible Main Staircase. Discouraging elevator use, encouraging social interaction.
8. Green Roof and Rooftop Gardening.
9. Garden District-inspired Landscaping at Grade. Native plantings and pollinator garden.
10. Durable, Non-Toxic, Locally-Sourced, Natural Interior Finish Materials.
All to achieve the SUSTAINABLE.TO brand-promise of a Healthy, Affordable, Resource & Energy-Efficient design solution.
There is a Chinese Proverb that seems to fit well:
“Those that say it can’t be done should get out of the way of those doing it.”