|The new 11 Division police station in Toronto|
Let’s take a look at a justice facility as an example. How can the design of community-based justice facilities – once fortress-like and imposing – challenge the status quo and breathe new life into the communities they serve?
Law-enforcement architecture creates potent civic landmarks within our communities. A carefully designed police facility can support the public realm in the same way policing activities support community involvement. Together, the ideas of community policing and urban regeneration are completely compatible; they restore confidence in our communities through a strong positive presence.
|Transparency and connection are main design|
principles for the station's lobby and public spaces
So, how did we achieve success with 11 Division?
The site identified for the new 11 Division included the former Carleton Village Public School in Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood. The school had seen generations of local residents pass through its doors, and so was deeply embedded in the heart of the community. The challenge? How could we incorporate a 98-year-old school into a contemporary new police facility?
Community engagement was key. We worked closely with the community to develop a design strategy that would retain the iconic soul of the abandoned school while also balancing the contemporary needs of a modern police force.
In all of our consultations, members of the community told us how valuable the project was to them. So we wanted to ensure that the finished building would be open and welcoming for the community.
This is just one example of how justice facilities can contribute to city building. Join us at the Fairmont Winnipeg at the RAIC 2014 Festival of Architecture, Friday May 30th from 10:30 am - 12:00 pm where we will continue to explore these and other ideas that bring together design and community building.
Click http://festival.raic.org/ for more information.
Michael Moxam is an architect and vice president based in our Toronto office.