Conveying Toronto Community Housing Corporation’s Resident-first Mandate in Built Form
Toronto Community Housing Corporation / Service Hubs
Toronto Community Housing Corporation
20,000 sf/1,800 sm
Architecture Counsel has completed two new services hubs (with four more underway) for the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) to better serve their residents. The hubs respond to a new tenant-centred, service delivery approach for some of Toronto’s most marginalized and at-risk populations, many of them new Canadians and non-native English speakers.
The overarching objective of the service hubs is to offer tenants a greater degree of comfort with their housing and community, create a sense of belonging, and provide staff with safe, accessible work environments. Once complete, the hubs will be places where residents and staff can meet, interact, and access the resources they need in a comfortable, welcoming environment that supports diverse needs. All hubs are designed to respond to local character.
We worked collaboratively with the TCHC to identify underused existing space to be repurposed as hubs within each site. Once identified, several test-fit iterations were proposed with feedback from numerous stakeholders. All designs were tested against stringent TCHC accessibility, security, and operations standards.
All the tenant service hubs were designed to meet AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) and TCHC accessibility standards with input from the resident-led R-PATH (Responsible Personal Accessibility in Toronto Housing) Committee, whose goal is to improve the quality of life for people with physical disabilities. This involved many design considerations including enlarged mobility device turning diameters, appropriate clearances at doors and paths of travel, accessible service counter heights, and colour selections based on visual impairment guidelines.
The hubs will communicate TCHC’s resident-first mandate in a respectful manner that underlines its commitment to improve service. Through these important changes, the TCHC is promoting their values and mission in a tangible way through design and architecture. The changes will be transformative for tenants and TCHC staff, resulting in a positive impact throughout the system.