Launching Pad

Client Launching Pad
Category Design Proposal, Residential, Care Facility
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Launching Pad is a non-profit agency in British Columbia that provides assistance to male adult alcoholics and drug addicts to return to a healthy lifestyle and become productive members of society. The agency commenced its operation in June of 1994 through the auspices of Dave Houston, who purchased the 12-bedroom facility in Aldergrove, and Ed Warnke, who managed the facility until 2019. Launching Pad is one of Canada's leading total abstinence centres, and prohibits residents from taking any mind-altering medications. Presently, the facility is located in White Rock, where it provides room and board for 30 residents. Throughout its 25 years of operation, the agency has helped thousands of men recover from addiction and has led them to clean and sober lives.

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Launching Pad needs to improve its care facility primarily to provide a better centre for the residents, and secondarily to increase the number of residents they can provide that care to. To be financially self-sufficient, the agency needs a supplementary source of income located within the centre but one that does not disrupt its operations.

Contextually, the new building has to respond in a respectful manner and not drastically alter the existing built forms in the neighbourhood even though the property is already zoned for a care facility. Located in the boundary between White Rock and South Surrey, the facility is surrounded by opulent residences and has amazing views of the water. The restrictions on the maximum height, floor area, lot coverage, and setbacks make the project more challenging because the additional spaces require large floor areas.

Furthermore, the centre needs outdoor areas that provide spaces for fun, relaxation, and calm. The existing mature trees and vegetation need to be retained and integrated into the overall development.

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The layout of the proposed building is fundamentally a reflection of the spatial needs of the centre. The rooms are categorized into public, semi-private, and private zones, which have varying degrees of accessibility and privacy. The public areas are on the first floor and include the meeting rooms, dining hall, and lounge, which become social gathering points within the facility. To maintain their privacy, the 20 double-occupancy guest bedrooms are located on the second floor and are only accessible by the guests and the staff. Adjacent to these bedrooms are two bathroom facilities that together provide 10 toilets, 14 showers and 8 sinks.

As a supplementary source of income, there are five studio rental suites in the basement level of the facility. The common entrance of these suites is located in the back of the building to maintain their privacy and not to disrupt the daily operations of the facility. Three staff suites in the basement level increase the strength of engagement provided to the residents while giving the staff their own private space.

Retaining mature trees and existing landscaping characteristics help choose the ideal location of the building within site. Additionally, these natural features help to meet the essential requirements for a holistic recovery and provide the residents with a place of solitude.

The neighbouring houses serve as inspirations on the development of the building facade and exterior design. This respectful approach to the context and built structures solidifies the presence of the facility and harmoniously blends with its residential neighbours. Gable roofs, wood, and the dynamic rhythm of planar elements create a warm and welcoming structure that invoke a sense of home.

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