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Scarborough facility pays homage to ancient native built form

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Levitt Goodman Architects’ Scarborough Child and Family Life Centre for Native Child and Family Services of Toronto. 'We wanted something that felt really special to the community,” says architect Dean Goodman, 'that’s why it doesn’t look like a regular building.’

Ben Rahn/A-Frame/Levitt Goodman Architects

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The Native Learning Centre is in the basement, and is an accredited high school. Youth worker Kevin Fujita says ‘we’re very proud of this.’ It was a ‘pipe dream’ that happened really quickly. Adds architect Dean Goodman: “When we started all this, there was no real knowledge of what would go on downstairs, and that’s why it was always ‘just make space.’

Ben Rahn/A-Frame/Levitt Goodman Architects

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'Child cares always feel a little bit institutional,’ says Mr. Goodman. So Levitt Goodman Architects decided on natural materials and plenty of windows.

Ben Rahn/A-Frame/Levitt Goodman Architects

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Ben Rahn/A-Frame/Levitt Goodman Architects

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Of the big commercial kitchen on the second floor, Mr. Goodman says: ‘It was hard getting this in here, [the building] feels pretty generous, but it’s a pretty small site. Now it feels normal but it was hard to fit all this programming into the space.’

Ben Rahn/A-Frame/Levitt Goodman Architects

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Pairs of daycare rooms are connected by a centralized washroom, complete with tiny toilets. ‘These places already have more plumbing and wiring than you can image, so you want to try and keep it localized,’ says Mr. Goodman.

Ben Rahn/A-Frame/Levitt Goodman Architects

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About the connection to the heritage home, Mr. Goodman says: 'You don’t have to relate to another building by being the same; you relate to it by being careful and with the same quality of detail.’

Ben Rahn/A-Frame/Levitt Goodman Architects

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