The Lord's Place
• AIA Palm Beach 2020
Award of Merit for Unbuilt Commercial or Institutional
• Florida/Caribbean ARCHITECT magazine - Fall 2021
The Lord's Place is non-profit organization with a goal of breaking the cycle of homelessness, deserves a new headquarters that exceeds community wide goals by setting an example of a functional facility that can also be a pleasant and stimulating environment. The proposed design was needed to replace their existing and outdated one-story structure. The client’s main concern was to accommodate all programmatic needs without compromising the quality of space, and this was achieved through the Oasis: a central courtyard-garden that serves as a safe-space for both the organization’s clients and staff. With the Oasis as the central node and way-finding element, all other programmatic needs fell into place.
Extensive trauma-informed design research became the guiding principle; for example, all pathways include unobstructed sightlines to the vegetated Oasis to promote peace. All furniture can be manipulated by the user for increased self-reliance, and natural light is welcomed to avoid a fluorescent noise-trigger for the clients. The interior color palette includes calming colors and soothing nature scenes to avoid negative emotional triggers. Lastly, the wood façade screening serves as both a sustainable design solution and a connecting element to nature.
Designing the building infrastructure allows for reduced utility costs over the future life of the building, and the items in our sustainable toolbox include: LED lights, well water, cistern water collection/storage, low-e glazing, green roof, solar screening elements, efficient HVAC (VRF), solar panels, and natural ecological site design principles. Large windows, natural light, great views, and a celebrated courtyard garden all help to blur the threshold between the concept of interior versus exterior. The green roof gardens, covered parking, charging stations, permeable parking areas and bioswales create a pleasant atmosphere that shows people we care about the quality of space and the impact it has on the users and our environment.
If we want to foster a recovering sense of compassion and self-sufficiency within people, we first need to start with a building that also has these values incorporated throughout the design.