Robert Stefanowicz, Vancouver

Covenant House Drake Street

Location: Vancouver BC | Completed: 2009

The job was to renovate the existing Covenant House drop in/outreach centre located in downtown Vancouver without shutting it down during the process.  The bigger goals were to instill a sense of belonging and community, provide sanctuary and shelter for the youth, discreet but effective security for the staff and opportunities for the workers to casually interact with the young people. For False Creek Design it was all about taking a responsible down to earth approach to avoid the lock down institutional atmosphere often found in facilities of this nature. Materials and furnishings were sourced in unconventional places: suppliers provided wood flooring (otherwise destined for landfill) to replace drywall in certain applications and chairs and tables found in secondhand stores and garage sales were refinished, reupholstered and often repurposed. Skylights and sun tunnels made up for the lack of windows and artwork created by the youth themselves added personality and a sense of home to the facility. Capacity was greatly increased and incidents of violence vastly decreased.