There is one word that is ubiquitous around the world no matter what culture or belief system one has. That is the word “welcome”. The purpose of our plan is to create a building that gladly admits every person who enters it.
The edifice must send a message of greetings not only to its local community but also to migrants who seek sanctuary. It should inspire those who provide care to refugees.
The building’s materials and spaces must transmit comfort and welcome while differentiating itself from the harsh pavement and concrete outside that surrounds it. The slats of the façade, although porous, are strong and link the exterior with the interior spaces.
A courtyard is the focal area of the building. The roof is a combination of apertures for natural lighting and solar panels used as a source for electricity and hot water. From the possibility of creating a net-zero energy building, along with carbon sequestration from the wood materials, the extensive use of daylight and rainfall retrieval mechanisms, this building coexists respectfully with the natural environment.
Attention has been given to individuals, families, groups or crowds to move freely within or find spaces for rest, play or social gathering. There is a seating area along a wall facing the courtyard while performances can be held by the grand staircase. Visitors can wander through a shaded colonnade and terraces which lead to the chapel.
Closed from the busy areas around it, the chapel is small and a distinct place for quiet reflection. Outside, the chapel’s tall roof makes it visible to a visitor coming from the bus station or downtown. Light peers out from the slatted wood screens of this taller part of the center, which is a message of “welcome” for anybody walking by.