Welcome Place offers shelter and transitional services to Manitoba’s new refugees. On a quiet residential street in an inner-city neighbourhood, the building is designed to address the fragile psychological and emotional state of residents and to help them to slowly transition to a new, supported life in Canada.
The design concept was for the $4 million building to feel like a solid, protective volume, with offices on the lower floors, and three levels of residential suites above. The residential units are sheltered behind heavy walls with deeply set, porthole-like windows that provide occupants with discrete outdoor views while minimising views in.
A sequence of shared spaces—starting with a landscaped entry courtyard, flowing to indoor lounges, assembly and seminar rooms and offices, and culminating with a rooftop terrace—flow through the building encouraging interaction amongst residents and staff. The solidity of the building is broken down with these colourful and airy public spaces, giving occupants an opportunity to experience openness and positivity within the protective shell. Once familiar with their surroundings, the residents gradually start to transition from their private accommodation to use the shared spaces and subsequently ease their way into the surrounding community. This act is a first step towards their lives as Canadians.
- Heavy walls, deeply set, porthole-like windows
- Colourful and airy public spaces