L’Arche is an international organization of communities for people with disabilities and those living with them. Founded by Canadian writer/philosopher Jean Vanier in 1964, the organization aims to provide a sense of community and dignity for those with disabilities — not always possible within conventional institutions.
The L’Arche Daybreak community, founded in 1969 on a 20-acre pastoral setting in Richmond Hill, includes a number of buildings, as well as a creek, pond and woodlot. The late 1980s wave of Toronto sprawl, in the form of low-rise suburban residential development, brought many development pressures to this existing community, and threatened that peaceful setting.
In this context, the L’Arche Daybreak community engaged Joe Lobko to assist them in developing a master plan for the site. In the end, L’Arche Daybreak chose to maintain the integrity of their physical place, despite numerous opposing pressures, a fundamental decision which has helped to foster the group’s sense of community and its own history. This is the story of how an existing rural-based community is confronted with, and ultimately integrates with, an encroaching suburban community.
Joe Lobko, Megan Torza, Erika Lobko, Kristen Dobbin, Jordan Darnell
The entire L’Arche Daybreak community with special thanks to Carl MacMillan, Alan Dobb, Joe Child, Debbie Dew, and Warren Pot for their assistance in making this exhibition possible.
du Toit Architects Limited | du Toit Allsopp Hillier (DTAH), is a Toronto-based firm of 40 architects, landscape architects and planners dedicated to the creation of meaningful spaces, landscapes and communities. As one of Canada’s foremost interdisciplinary design practices, the firm’s work is characterized by the integration of landscape design and architecture within a solid planning framework. The ongoing Toronto Central Waterfront Revitalization (including WaveDecks with West 8), the Evergreen Brick Works project, and the Artscape Wychwood Barns each demonstrate the power of this approach in support of vibrant communities around the City.
With a focus on the non-profit sector, Joe Lobko of Joe Lobko Architect Inc. (now DTAH) has worked with the L’Arche communities in Richmond Hill and Toronto for the last 17 years. His work with the L’Arche Daybreak community began in 1993 and forms the basis of this exhibition. This work included the establishment of a planning framework for the entire community, and the design of numerous buildings on the site to suit L’Arche’s expanding population and programming needs.