|Title||Homeless Facilities: Spring Gardens and the Redbridge Welcome Centre|
Spring Gardens, Lewisham (2009) and the Redbridge Welcome Centre, Ilford (2011) are two homeless facilities designed by Peter Barber Architects that have come to define the Homes and Communities Agency’s ‘Places of Change’ programme. This programme defined a policy shift in homeless shelter provision from maintenance to recovery and aimed at integrating the homeless back into society. The primary research questions the projects address are: How can facilities for the homeless be deinstitutionalised? How can homeless facilities provide for the emotional aspects of home as well as the basics of food and shelter? How can facilities for the homeless respond to a policy shift from maintenance to recovery? How can relationships between the homeless and the wider community be encouraged? How can the experience of being homeless be incorporated into the design process of homeless facilities? The research methodology included site visits, analysis of existing hostels and discussions with clients, hostel staff and residents. Conceptual design strategies drew on the writings of Walter Benjamin and Jane Jacobs, both buildings being conceived as organised around internal streets and as multi-levelled landscapes to be inhabited by people. Key urban design moves were established early on in design processes and remained consistent throughout their evolution. Extensive physical model making, three-dimensional sketching and other forms of visualisation tested design options and refined the overall configuration of the buildings in terms of accessibility, circulation, lighting, and general functional viability. Research into low budget curtain wall construction resulted in the use of a standard glazing system, with individual panels bolted together. The projects have been widely published and favourably reviewed widely in the architectural and popular media. Spring Gardens was nominated for a 2013 Index Award in the Community Category.
|Date||01 Jan 2011|