Sustainable centre for the homeless

03 Nov 2011

LEED Silver concept design selected for Homeless Service Center in California

Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio and local San Luis Obispo firm, garcia architecture + design have been selected for their innovative design of a new 26,000 sq ft Homeless Service Center for The Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County, Inc. (CAPSLO) in San Luis Obispo, California.

This will provide comprehensive services for the population throughout San Luis Obispo County. The team was chosen from a pool of sixteen architecture firms.

Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio is excited to announce winning the commission as it furthers their work in the field of affordable and socially responsible housing. Landscape Architect, Katherine Spitz Associates Inc. is collaborating with the team to create a 26,000 sq ft flexible outdoor area for adults, children and families. The landscape will offer variable outdoor spaces and an edible garden that could be utilised in feeding the residents, a place to learn new skills and use in an onsite Market/Garden Cafe.

The winning design scheme provides a graceful façade to the community as well as privacy for the residents. The plan is structured around a central spine. The spine acts as an organising principal for the building, differentiating private areas from public ones, and formal spaces from more informal ones, which incorporates a hierarchy of security.

These areas are laid out according to cardinal directions, creating a logical rhythm to the building, which was well received by the client as it fit their complex program. The space will also provide a community room for the population at large. Energy efficiency will be maximised through the use of passive design strategies, high-efficiency mechanical and water conveying systems, photovoltaic and greywater systems with a goal of reaching the equivalent of LEED ‘Silver’ classification.

The building will have a Drop-In Center, the first point of entry for homelessness and will accommodate 200 beds divided between men, women and families. Medical exam rooms along with mental health facilities will be provided. A spacious and light filled multi-use room and large dining room is on the ground floor. There will also be a play area for children, a recreation area, and pet kennel for the residents.

The floor plan also reflects the team’s careful consideration of relevant issues including security, privacy, maintenance needs, and control. The design addresses these concerns while maintaining a welcoming, non-institutional feel that extends throughout the project, including the outdoor landscape.

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