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CAPSLO Homeless Services Center in San Luis Obispo, CA by Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio
January 8th, 2012 by Sanjay Gangal
Article source: Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio
Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio:
Garcia architecture + design:
History: The Prado Day Center and Maxine Lewis Overnight Shelter have been serving the homeless community of San Luis Obispo since 1997. However, the two separate facilities operated inefficiently for staff, service providers, and clients. It was decided that a single, combined facility could operate 24/7 and meet needs more effectively. A site was offered by the County and the necessary permits and approvals were obtained by the Airport Land-Use Commission and the SLO City Planning Commission. CAPSLO then released a Request for Qualifications to select an architect to design the proposed Homeless Services Center. Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio and garcia architecture + design were selected from a pool of sixteen applicant firms to provide a sponsored competitive design. The selection committee chose their design which was unanimously approved by the board.
Program: The Center will house a variety of spaces, including community rooms, day-use service areas, kitchen and community enterprise spaces, offices, medical service and mental health areas, and dormitories. The facility will have 200 beds housing men, women and families. Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio and garcia architecture + design were charged with designing a welcoming, respectful building that will provide clients a sense of dignity.
Design: The team designed the structure around a central spine to aid in appropriate distribution of services and to give a clear organization that runs according to the cardinal directions.
Security becomes increasingly stringent as one moves from the West side of the building to the East. The West side is dominated by public program spaces and a strong connection to the outside, while the Eastern side of the building has less open access. The design efficiently leverages the staff’s ability to monitor the environment effectively. On the first floor, more public uses such as community rooms and service areas give way to more private and secure areas such as medical service and interagency office spaces. This principal is repeated on the second story, where a security-monitoring desk segregates the single men’s area to the West from the family rooms and women’s only areas to the East. Such consideration is important when creating a comfortable and safe environment for these clients, whose lives are often plagued by a lack of privacy and security.
The building also becomes more informal as one moves from North to South. Spaces in the Southern half of the building are more open and flowing in use and function thanks to a more porous layout with strong connections to the outdoor space. The North side of the building is characterized by compartmentalized spaces that are more structured in use and layout and have an inward focus and more utilitarian nature.
Firm: Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio is an architectural and urban design firm that specializes in the design of structures, urban design, planning, sustainability, and consultation to companies and public entities. The firm was launched in 2010, marking a new venture from world-renowned architect and engineer Gwynne Pugh. The firm is consciously structured to ensure Gwynne’s participation in each project. Gwynne was previously Principal and founder of Pugh + Scarpa. While Principal, the firm received numerous honors including the AIA Architecture Firm of the Year award for 2010 for both the Nation and the State.
Since 1998, garcia architecture + design has established themselves as one of the leading architectural firms in the state, with clients ranging from governmental agencies, international corporations, state & local businesses, individuals, and non-profit organizations. The firm has successfully completed hundreds of commercial, residential, institutional, financial, and hospitality-type projects throughout the western U.S., and continues to design and deliver projects of the highest caliber for all sectors of the construction industry. Paramount to our continued success is the firm’s inherent ability to identify key public policy issues and efficiently implement mutually beneficial and cost-effective solutions.
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