The Center for Victims of Torture
St. Paul, Minnesota
The Center for Victims of Torture (CVT) is a non-profit organization that is forging new ways to advance human rights and build a future free from torture. Through research, training, advocacy and their healing services for survivors, each initiative they undertake plays a role in building a larger vision for the torture rehabilitation movement. Perkins+Will partnered with the organization to envision and create a new international headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota. CVT’s diverse staff consists of a variety of work styles and job functions. They work with various teams located throughout the world. For the new headquarters, we responded to this need for flexible space and function by creating a more open and collaborative environment that is respectful and supportive. The flexible design includes visitor touch down space for CVT staff that are frequently traveling internationally, volunteers, and interns that supports the daily activities of the work they do in the community. The facility also has improved meeting spaces and supporting technology that is inviting for clients and can support celebratory events for both donors and clients. Most importantly, the space fosters a cohesive community within the organization, and brings all staff to one centralized location to best deliver healing services to their clients.
There are more than 30,000 torture survivors living in Minnesota. The healing work that CVT provides to these individuals is accomplished in a very specific residential-like setting which is required to be successful. As a part of maintaining that setting, administrative functions as well as the research and advocacy work around human rights can be accomplished in a separate venue. The new headquarters is strategically located on a major public transit route in order to maintain a close connection with the healing center also located near this route. It was important during the design process to understand that this was a place where people from around the world would gather to collaborate on this important work and therefore its character is one of diversity and inclusivity.