Text description provided by the architects. The site is an existing 40 hectare institutional site which was initially surrounded by agricultural fields. The Surrounding Community is now single family, suburban housing outside the Greater Community of Toronto. The site was cleared of an existing women’s prison, with the exception of two buildings, which were maintained and renovated as part of the Youth Centre. Eight new buildings have been added to the site to provide services to 192 youth offenders, 32 girls and boys, aged 12 years to 17 years old. Over 300 staff members, volunteers and family members and visitors are included in the Immediate Community of the Youth Centre.
Each of these Communities were considered in the realization of the project, from the scale of the aggregate built form, earth works and landscaping to the six residential buildings and finally the detailing of the private bedrooms. The secured area of the site is a Campus morphology, reinforcing the Education ideals of the Centre. Contiguous buildings, infill board-formed concrete, masonry panels and Corten steel panels define the garden wall. The Campus is surrounded by a public Park, offering a naturalized landscape including a bio-swale, pond, existing mature trees, hundreds of new trees and a new streetscape. These are intended to generate a positive attitude toward the public occupation of regional suburban roads. Intensifying the public use of the non-secured areas of the site is critical to the success of this Youth Centre, both in promoting a healthy public understanding of the ideals of the institution and the residents understanding of their place in their society.