The Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre (DMSCC) is a non-profit organization that offers emergency shelter, second stage housing, affordable housing, community support, and education for those struggling with unhealthy or abusive relationships or family violence in the Cold Lake Region. The Crisis Centre has seen a marked increase in the need for its services and has increased its capacity to provide these services, especially through the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, recent renovations to existing facilities have not kept up with the increased need for services or the number of staff required.
The primary design intent of the Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre is to create an environment that encapsulates the intrinsic warmth and comfort of home, while also offering enhanced privacy, security, and confidentiality to all of its residents, visitors, and staff. The space is sustainable for both the environment and the human spirit; green-building features include both cutting-edge technologies and passive strategies to support the design's ultimate aim of attaining net-zero. Residents and visitors enjoy an access to nature, children's play areas, and supports for spiritual healing and empowerment, which include sensory rooms and spaces for religious and cultural practices.
DESIGNING WITH CARE AND COMPASSION
Trauma-informed design is an emerging concept in the field of architecture, and one that we are passionate about developing. The Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre will serve as a meaningful contribution in the conversation surrounding trauma-informed care. The Centre provides a safe and calm environment that embraces choices, some level of privacy, and connections, while allowing for passive supervision. In the design for the Crisis Centre, we took care to accommodate users' psychological and spiritual needs. Such considerations included a secured outdoor healing garden, landscape design that follows the principles of CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design), and an open floor plan that allows for flow and movement while also ensuring the protection of residents' privacy and dignity.