Eva’s Phoenix, is “a project that’s all about doing the right thing – for the kids, i.e. 50 young homeless, the neighborhood and the city of Toronto” designed by LGA.
The Canadian studio LGA Architectural Partners created Eva’s Phoenix, a neighborhood within an old Toronto industrial building, to provide accommodation for about 50 homeless young people. Eva’s is a nonprofit initiative that provides transitional housing, educational support, employment training and independent living skills programs for youth aged 16 to 24 experiencing homelessness.
Originally a 1930s waterworks warehouse, the brick structure was transformed into a fully-enclosed residential complex with white walls, polished concrete pathways and splashes of pastel colors. The roof was replaced with sloping windows to create a light-filled interior that resembles a greenhouse.
For up to one year each of the 50 residents will have their own bedroom in a “house” outfitted with a communal living and kitchen space and two bathrooms, with up to four others. These houses face onto an internal street – which serves as a gathering place for the Eva’s community.
The original project developed by LGA Architectural Partners represents a new phase for Eva’s, also thanks to the awards it received making it an influential model for other facilities for homeless youth across Canada.
The facility is an important element of the redevelopment of this entire city block that will be redeveloped and augmented to include a food market, a YMCA and a condominium tower, all on the edge of St. Andrew’s Park.
Within this rapidly gentrifying area, providing young residents at Eva’s Phoenix with a secure and discrete home that is also an oasis unto itself was critical to LGA. Fittingly, the project pulls from LGA’s extensive experience designing socially conscious and humane architecture for nonprofit clients including Strachan House, Peel Youth Village and The Edwin Hotel. In each case, the architects drew on the strengths of the original building to create a strong sense of place for the residents. Above one of the rows of townhouses, the architects built offices with the “roof top” meeting areas, providing humane and semi-private, light-filled spaces for working, meetings and counseling. Additional spaces provide residents with education, including a demonstration kitchen on the ground floor and a full-service commercial print shop in the basement.
“This is a project that’s all about doing the right thing – for the kids, the neighbourhood and the city,” said LGA co-founder Dean Goodman. “It’s architecture that results from will and collaboration – between the Eva’s community, the design and construction teams, and also the councilor and the planning department.” According to Eva’s executive director, Jocelyn Helland, “Eva’s Phoenix was designed to be a warm, welcoming space that says, ‘You are cared for, you belong, and you deserve a great future, no matter what happened in the past’.”
Photo: Ben Rahn
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