Urban Ministry Center

Charlotte, NC

The Urban Ministry provides lunch to the homeless population of Charlotte, NC 365 days a year, as well as a myriad of services including counseling, laundry, showers, mail, art and sports programs. Their operation had outgrown the old train station from which it had been based for the last 20 years and needed to build a new facility on the adjacent property.

The site required a two-story building with the various programs housed in the facility stacked between the two floors. The main daily event, food preparation and lunch, along with the central check in, toilets and laundry are positioned on the lower level and counseling and support services are located on the second level. All functions are connected by a grand stair in the reception lobby. Long canopies with red vertical elements signifying the entry points keep the clients out of the sun and rain as they wait in line for food and services. The curved primary fa├žade orients back to the city skyline creating a welcoming gesture to downtown. The two-story bay window space contains a dining room with interior windows looking down from the corridor above. Large projecting windows identify meeting spaces and conference rooms. Utilitarian, low maintenance materials were used for the exterior to keep the overall building cost low.