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Cawley Architects Leads Collaborative Effort to Transform Lives at Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Much-Needed, Inspiring Life Recovery Building

Cawley Architects continues its mastery of designing projects that serve the needs of a community with a collaborative project at the Phoenix Rescue Mission – the Life Recovery Building at the Transforming Lives Center.

In collaboration with the Phoenix Rescue Mission and its generous donors and general contractor GCON, Cawley Architects provided design expertise for the $9 million, 56,252 SF project at 1801 S. 35th Ave., in Phoenix that opened last month.

The project includes new construction of a 4-story administration and housing building that includes 280 beds, dividable chapel and classroom spaces, expanded meeting spaces, and inviting outdoor spaces.

Cawley Architects designed the building as a place of hope, healing, and new beginnings for men struggling with homelessness, addiction, and trauma. The Life Recovery Building, which replaces a 160-bed, barrack-style building, fosters self-worth and confidence, dignity, new life, and a new path forward for its residents.

The brick façade of the building features a phoenix on a cross, a striking symbol of renewal, hope and transformation.

“I was moved by the comments of one of the residents who was interviewed for a virtual ribbon-cutting event video,” said Sherm Cawley, AIA, SIOR, President/Founder of Cawley Architects. “In a content tone of voice, he said, ‘We’re now living in a place designed for people.’ Those comments truly resonated with our team.”

As a long-term Christ-centered recovery program, the Life Recovery Building was designed with the following precepts in mind:

  • More beds will result in more transformation opportunities. The bed count increased from 160 to 360 and rather than a barracks-style configuration, each air-conditioned room accommodates two to four men and includes closet and storage areas as well as study space.
  • More classes will result in more personal growth opportunities. Expanded and dividable chapel and classroom spaces permit unlimited options for a more structured curriculum, including inner-healing classes, foundation classes, life-skill development opportunities, family-relationship counseling, and education assistance.
  • The outdoor respite area will “feed the soul.” Inviting outdoor spaces were included to encourage fellowship as well as quiet space for solitude and reflection.

“This new building and renovation project will serve as a catalyst for transformation on a scale we’ve never witnessed before – not just because we will be able to serve 200 additional men at any given time – but because of the countless fathers, husbands, and community members whose lives will have been transformed,” Phoenix Rescue Mission CEO Ken Brissa said. “It will also allow us to rescue more people from crisis into a safe, supportive environment and place them on a path to achieving sustainable, lifelong goals.”