Anduhyaun Women’s Shelter

Toronto, ON

Anduhyaun Women’s Shelter

The project involves a 20-bed shelter that would be responsive to the cultural and social conditions of Indigenous women. The design aims to support the shelter’s occupants through establishing a sense of cultural identity, security, self-sufficiency, and connection. The shelter’s exterior attempts to embody the properties of sage, one of the Four Sacred Medicines, often used in ceremonies and teachings for releasing what is troubling the mind and removing negative energy. The undulating curves in the layout of communal spaces and corridors respond to the client’s desire to instill a sense of discovery and exploration. At the same time, the design maintains clear sightlines throughout the building. The ground floor’s carefully sequenced spaces include client intake and counselling rooms, a large communal kitchen and dining room, an interconnected community Elder space and ceremonial room, and access to private, quality outdoor space. Ensuite bathrooms with showers in every bedroom aim to establish a feeling of autonomy and privacy, while flexible common spaces on each level provide an opportunity to reconnect from isolation. Four of the 18 bedrooms on two levels are barrier-free.  

This project is notable for its incorporation of passive house strategies that are achievable on a modest construction budget. The shelter’s easily implementable low-carbon envelope reduces GHG emissions by minimizing the quantity of foam insulation required. The building’s wood frame sequesters carbon, and the decision to go with slab-on-grade construction reduced the embodied carbon footprint by requiring significantly less concrete than would have been necessary for a comparably sized building with a basement.

Project Area



In Progress


LGA Architectural Partners


Toronto Office

Construction Economists