May 24, 2012
Planned expansion to added 21,000-square-feet to ROCK Centre in Burlington, Ontario
With demand for its programs and services rapidly increasing, the Reach Out Centre for Kids (ROCK) is undertaking a 21,000-square-foot expansion of its facilities at the corner of Pearl and James streets.
Designed by Toronto’s Bortolotto, the three-storey, plus lower level expansion includes the Centre of Learning Space for teaching and training, two floors of administrative space and the relocation of the Burlington Ontario Early Years Centre (OYEC) for parents and children up to six years of age. The grade-level link connects the existing building to the new and is curved towards the entrance, “drawing children, families and staff inside.” The top two storeys of the newly expanded space are designed using curtain wall with vertical solar fins at the administrative levels.
Inspired by Ben Bulben, a large rock formation in Ireland, the design of ROCK is intended to provide children, families and staff “with a sense of clarity and calmness” acting in support of ROCK’s many programs and services. Bortolotto said crevice-like openings shape the windows at the heavy solid brick façade and give the centre a sense of transparency and accessibility.
These openings also provide the building with a stronger connection to the surrounding community “helping to break down the barriers and long-standing perception of how mental health facilities look.”
Bortolotto, a full-service architecture and interior design firm, said the design of the Early Years Centre is inspired by Reggio Emilia’s philosophy and approach, based on the natural development of children and the close relationships they share with their environment. Framed at one end with views to the sky, the OEYC design includes a heavily treed landscape concept that brings the outside world in.
Originally built in 1992, the ROCK started out serving 400 children per year. In the last 10 years, demand for ROCK’s services and programs has dramatically increased to more than 15,000 children, youth and families.
Tenders closed May 23 on the project, being undertaken by a team that includes structural engineers Blackwell Bowick Partnership, civil engineers Bronte Engineering Ltd. and mechanical-electrical engineers, LKM Consulting Engineers Inc. Landscape architect is PMA Landscape Architects Inc.
DCN STAFF WRITER
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