From compounds to parks and prison walls to garden walls
In 2004, the Ontario Provincial Government introduced a new Ministry of Child and Youth Services and this project was the first building by the Province and first campus in Canada designed for LEED Certification, initiating a new standard for environmental stewardship for public buildings. The major innovations distinguishing the new views of this Ministry are directly expressed in the urban design and architecture of the Roy McMurtry Youth Centre. The morphological inversion of the iconic prison wall is a significant urban indicator of these views, announcing the integration of the institution within the community.
The eight new buildings and two existing buildings are located outside of and connected to the garden wall. The Campus Common reinforces the educational, rehabilitative ideals of the Centre and its responsibility for our most vulnerable citizens. The Campus is centred on the site, offering the community a public park of naturalised landscaping, bio-swales, a pond, existing mature trees, hundreds of new trees, a new streetscape and shared use of an Olympic running track. 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 aspirations of the institution and the residents’ understanding of their place within their society.
The new public pedestrian and vehicular entrance to the site is aligned with the existing intersection of the regional road and the historic Main Street of the local town of Brampton, presenting a public space as the terminal of the views from Main Street and the Town Centre and a continuation of the existing regional park system. The institutional, local and provincial communities were each considered in the realisation of the project, indicated by the aligned entry point into the site, the scale of the aggregate built form, earth works and landscaping of the new public park, the deconstruction of the monolithic institution into discrete buildings and finally the detailing of the private bedrooms.