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  6. Native Child and Family Services of Toronto / Levitt Goodman Architects

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto / Levitt Goodman Architects

  • 01:00 - 17 March, 2011
Native Child and Family Services of Toronto / Levitt Goodman Architects
Native Child and Family Services of Toronto / Levitt Goodman Architects, © Jesse Colin Jackson
© Jesse Colin Jackson

© Jesse Colin Jackson © Jesse Colin Jackson © Jesse Colin Jackson © Ben Rahn / A-Frame Inc +14

From the architect. The new Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST) consolidates social and culture-based services for aboriginal children and families within a 30,000 square foot office building in the heart of downtown Toronto. The challenge for this project was to create a place that would reconnect urban aboriginals with nature in the heart of the city and project a bold visual presence for the First Nations community – which was difficult to conceive for a community that is comprised of distinctive bands with their own identities and customs.

© Ben Rahn / A-Frame Inc
© Ben Rahn / A-Frame Inc

Opened in June 2010, the former 1980s office building now houses a drop-in childcare centre, an aboriginal artist studio, family, mental health, social services and administration offices as well as a contemporary iteration of a longhouse and a rooftop healing lodge and fire circle surrounded by a lush roof garden. These special spaces are used both formally and informally for public assemblies and ceremonies, drumming and circle sessions and for counseling, meetings and playtime.

© Ben Rahn / A-Frame Inc
© Ben Rahn / A-Frame Inc

The architects collaborated with aboriginal artists, a graphic designer and a landscape architect to define the centre with art, environmental graphics, natural materials and plantings that are native to the Great Lakes region. These features give the building its cultural identity and also soften its institutional nature.

© Jesse Colin Jackson
© Jesse Colin Jackson

Large-scale graphics line the interior walls and floors, carefully using images that are culturally broad, dignified and contemporary. For example, regional aboriginal textiles inspired the stylized “woven” motif pattern on the ground floor. It is meant to function as a giant welcome mat that links the building’s north and south entrances. The building’s material palette is comprised of unusual local materials including yellow birch heartwood, eastern white cedar, Erimosa limestone, river rock and red slate.

© Ben Rahn / A-Frame Inc
© Ben Rahn / A-Frame Inc

Green plants cascade down a vertical wall that rises from behind the ground floor reception desk to unite the interior with nature and connect all four floors to the rooftop garden that has a fire pit, green “teaching hills” and native agricultural plantings including sweet grass, sage, tobacco, corn, beans and squash. The offices were designed with aboriginal customs and sensitivities in mind. For example, in the child welfare area, meeting rooms that would conventionally have two-way mirrors and cameras are instead in the style of living rooms with diaphanous curtains that give privacy while also permitting casual observation.

© Jesse Colin Jackson
© Jesse Colin Jackson

NCFST’s Executive Director, Kenn Richard is proud of how the building is functioning as a place to meet, to kindle and rekindle relationships, and to receive services. He says, “It’s amazing the sense of pride that is being so boldly displayed, with its images and metaphors. I believe that the building will over time just get better in its role as a authentic Native experience in an otherwise non Native environment. This speaks of survival and this might be its greatest legacy.”

© Jesse Colin Jackson
© Jesse Colin Jackson
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "Native Child and Family Services of Toronto / Levitt Goodman Architects" 17 Mar 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/120391/native-child-and-family-services-of-toronto-levitt-goodman-architects/>
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25 Comments

Omamah alsadiQ · August 17, 2012

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto - Levitt Goodman Architects http://t.co/3JbjVywV #Canada #Architecture #Design

lareese hall · August 17, 2012

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto / Levitt Goodman Architects | ArchDaily http://t.co/Zpdu5RZg via @archdaily

Miguel Strother · June 15, 2012

Such a warm, embracing space @archdaily Native Child and Family Services of Toronto http://t.co/R6dNyIRv #architecture #firstnations

Lisa Baroldi · February 29, 2012

@estolte isn&#39t it?! And the #rooftopsweat has zero emissions: http://t.co/xRJJbDKZ. Great talking with you, too! Email #2 coming soon.

Elise Stolte · February 28, 2012

Thanks @DesignDowntown Great talking with you! And yes, very cool sweat lodge: http://t.co/tDZeuPJR (...rooftop in dt Toronto)

Leonardo Escalera · October 09, 2011
Lily M. Livingston · October 07, 2011

Teaching Sustainability for First Nations Communities at the Native Child and Family Services building! http://t.co/0gJOjG3I #HDRgreenbuild

Matt Cunha-Rigby · October 07, 2011

Teaching Sustainability for First Nations Communities at the Native Child and Family Services building! http://t.co/0gJOjG3I #HDRgreenbuild

Bruno Bellomo · June 30, 2011

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto / Levitt Goodman Architects | ArchDaily http://t.co/2Nn0pCV vía @archdaily

BCN STING INDY · June 30, 2011

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto / Levitt Goodman Architects | ArchDaily http://t.co/wu1r6zd via @archdaily

reino_ikem · June 29, 2011

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Travel Writer · April 18, 2011

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto / Levitt Goodman Architects: © Jesse Colin Jacks... http://bit.ly/goy0nt - www.talkitect.com

blogs of the world · March 19, 2011

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Family F · March 18, 2011

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T.O.O.L.S. Training · March 18, 2011

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto / Levitt Goodman ...: For example, in the child welfare area, meetin... http://bit.ly/dO2f7P

daqb design · March 18, 2011

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uchqundilemma · March 18, 2011
Mark Gardner · March 18, 2011

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto / Levitt Goodman Architects | ArchDaily http://t.co/mzIcL12 via @archdaily

gigajellyroll · March 18, 2011

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tobalox · March 18, 2011

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bibliotecainc · March 17, 2011

RT @archiTEXT: Amazing new home for Native Child in Toronto. http://t.co/ncVcJVP via @archdaily #aboriginal #nativechild #toronto #lev ...

a r c h i T E X T · March 17, 2011

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gr2tf · March 17, 2011

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simonscb · March 17, 2011

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Greg Allegretti · March 17, 2011

The wooden domes are not Fullerian. They portray a more fractal geometry which draws the eye and swirls the mind.

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