Anduhyaun Indigenous Women’s Centre

Toronto, Ontario

Anduhyaun Shelter is a new, three-storey, 22-room emergency shelter servicing Indigenous and Non-Indigenous women fleeing violence.


To design a culturally sensitive and inclusive environment, we developed a curvilinear concept – both in plan and in details aligning with indigenous traditions. From the entrance, a hallway flows like water, guiding users through the space, comforting her has she navigates her healing journey.

The ground floor corridor flows in waves around common spaces including an intake space, a circular traditional room, an Elders room, counselling rooms, staff offices, and a kitchen and dining room that opens to a sheltered garden. Programs encircle the traditional room, whose exterior walls are clad with wave course cedar shingles that imbue the interior with biophilic qualities including the beauty and smell of the natural material.

The bedrooms, which can be combined to accommodate families, have curvilinear walls that soften the edges of the room, creating a more organic atmosphere that is inviting and welcoming. Even though the initial plan was for shared bathrooms, we knew based on our previous experience designing shelters how critical it is for vulnerable users to have their own space, so we compressed the rooms or and broadened the scope to give each resident a private bathroom.