Evangel Hall

Location
Toronto

Client
Presbyterian Church of Canada

Date
2006

Overview

Evangel Hall, an agency of the Presbyterian Church of Canada, has been providing food, housing, counselling and spiritual support to marginalized citizen of Toronto for nearly 70 years. By 2001, the organization had outgrown its original streetfront location. A federally funded, municipally managed building fund gave Evangel Hall the opportunity to build a new headquarters for its drop-in centre, medical clinic, job and housing placement centre, while providing much-needed housing for 84 clients who are ready to make the transition from life on the street to housing in the community.

The architects were challenged by a compressed building site within the city’s 19th-century industrial precinct, bounded by Victorian row houses and industrial buildings, and a rambling residential building that is now home to one of Toronto’s oldest theatre companies. In addition to providing Evangel Hall staff and clients with a safe and secure working and living environment, the architects were required to address the neighbourhood’s concerns about the effect on the community of an influx of residents who face a variety of social, medical and emotional challenges.

The residential component of the new Evangel Hall building provides bachelor, one and two bedroom units, which permits a flexible approach to different residents’ needs for privacy and communal living. The Residence offers such amenities as rooftop gardens and open areas, onsite laundry facilities and large east-facing windows – the antithesis of the ‘warehouse’ approach that is all too prevalent among SROs.

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Expertise

Housing is a core focus of our business. We design innovative and adaptable buildings and master plans that respond to the immediate and future housing needs of diverse communities and all levels of income. We have a history of initiating and realizing housing projects that fill critical gaps in the market, and that are sensitive and adaptable to evolving cultures and contexts.
We offer a full range of architecture, interior design, programming and construction management services for commercial and retail projects, especially within mixed-use developments. Our flexible designs focus on user experience and the creation of environments that reflect the culture and identity of our clients.
We provide comprehensive support for approvals under the Planning Act that includes: the creation of clear, high quality documentation for amendments to official plans, zoning bylaws and building codes; producing planning applications and planning rationale reports; and representing our clients at Ontario Municipal Board hearings.
We prepare comprehensive plans for new communities ranging from high-density urban infill projects in areas subject to intensification, through to responsible greenfield development. Starting with an assessment of the local environment, we develop plans and designs that build on the history of the site, while identifying opportunities for sustainable growth.
We have a long history of planning and designing the public realm of cities, including streets, building facades, public places, the space between buildings and open spaces. Our team has pioneered significant aspects of the “complete streets” concept, demonstrated through landmark projects like the St. George Street Revitalization, the Bloor Street Transformation and the Six Point Interchange Reconstruction.
We help institutions fulfill their cultural mandate, and remain closely connected within their community, during periods of economic and social change. We take a comprehensive approach to the design, restoration and funding of public buildings and spaces, facilitating cultural partnerships and making efficient and productive use of space and resources.