Kehewin Tribal Chief Child and Family Services East Society (TCCFS) delivers child and family intervention services to both Kehewin Cree Nation and Frog Lake First Nation in Alberta, Canada. Since 1996, TCCFS has been committed to creating strong and positive relationships with families and offering support and connection to their communities. The TCCFS main office is located in Kehewin Cree Nation and, while the existing building has served the community for over fifteen years, it lacks dedicated program space, offices for out-of-town staff, and storage space, which has resulted in limitations upon the organization.
Our team was originally engaged by TCCFS to plan and design an addition to the society’s existing office. After an examination of the building and discussions with the TCCFS team, it was decided that we would expand the project scope to include renovations of the existing structure. The concepts central to the project are that of cultural awareness, safety, and respect. The renovated and expanded offices will empower well-being and collaboration to create a space that is safe, comfortable, and grounded in culture for staff, children, families, and the communities it serves.
PROTECTION AND HEALING
We designed in alignment with the essential objectives of promoting the users’ comfort and security, which begins at arrival to the building. Staff and visitors will enter from the east, under a sheltered trellis, and enter a secure vestibule, which then opens into a reception space that feeds into the various programme areas. Spaces in the addition will be generated as a gradient from public to private, from larger to smaller gathering spaces. The circular elders’ room and rectangular boardroom will be distinguished through colour and material. Cradled between them, at the north-west corner will be the area for play therapy. Through the interplay of colour, shape, and size, the rooms will reference the foundational relationship between Elders and children in local culture.
The landscape design, too, expands upon the themes of cultural expression and protection. The cultivation of native plants and the inclusion of a woven dogwood fence that shelters the exterior space references the cultural heritage of the surrounding indigenous communities.