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Boston Architectural College (BAC)

Boston Architectural College (BAC)

Boston, MA

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Stephanie Ireland, M.Arch ’14 – The Kitchen, Inc. Project

By deancascieri
Nov 15, '18 10:18 AM EST

Stephanie Ireland, M.Arch '14 recently designed a new homeless shelter for The Kitchen, Inc. in Springfield, MO.

Stephanie says:

I'm very proud to have designed a new homeless shelter for The Kitchen, Inc. in my hometown of Springfield, MO. The ENTIRE design team donated most of the services, which is just incredible. My design is unique in that a homeless shelter never knows from night to night the number of people in a family unit that they may need to house. They may need two beds for one family, but another family might need four beds, so making the facility flexible while still giving people their privacy was critical. I designed a partial second floor that could expand from two beds to 10 beds and still give people their privacy.

Another unique element to this project was the possibility of bed bugs coming into the building by way of clothes, bedding, paper, or other material objects. Bed bug treatment is expensive and The Kitchen has to deal with it often. To help The Kitchen with the cost of bed bug treatment, we included a special outlet on each floor, so they could purchase a portable heater necessary to eradicate them and use it as necessary, rather than hiring an exterminator each time.

To eradicate bed bugs, a space must be kept at 118 degrees for at least 90 minutes, so we also had to ensure the finishes and light fixtures could withstand the high heat for that amount of time. The walls between the apartments had to be built in such a way so that when an apartment is heated to kill the bed bugs, they wouldn't migrate to the next apartment. We selected finishes that make it difficult for bed bugs to hide. For example, instead of carpeting, luxury vinyl tile was used for flooring and receptacles were sealed in adjoining walls. Many of the team members, in both design and construction, had not dealt with bed bugs before, so a lot of research and collaboration took place during design and construction.

To keep costs down, inside the apartments there are as few walls as possible to allow for flexibility and to minimize the square footage. We used a curtain to separate the main bedroom from the rest of the apartment, while still giving access to the bathroom without going through the bedroom. Packaged Terminal Air Conditioners (PTACs) in each apartment eliminated the cost of ductwork and worked best with the Structural Insulated Panel System we used for the roofs. We were very conscious of the on-going utility costs and maintenance of the facility. That is why we made sure the facility is very well insulated and used low maintenance materials on the exterior.

We had several meetings with the City Plan Reviewers and the Fire Chief to ensure that we met the code requirements and safety, while still giving The Kitchen clientele privacy so that they could maintain their pride and basic decency. I designed these short-term apartments as a mashup, using ideas between "tiny apartment" and RV designs to accommodate their specific needs. Another touch we took into consideration was that these individuals might have children or pets, so we built a playground and created a separate kennel area.

I think the project turned out amazing and the staff of The Kitchen are thrilled! They will be occupying it soon with clients as caseworkers find permanent places for them in the community.

I am very proud to be a part of making my community a little better for those that I can help. It just takes everyone to help a little in what way they can, to make a monumental difference!

Click here to see some of Stephanie's drawings and photos of construction from start to finish.