The competition, Hidden Homeless, head by the Horizon Youth Centre, Camden, and supported by the Mayor of London, challenged designers and architects to propose radical ideas for innovative housing for homeless young people across the capital.
‘Stepping Stones’ by Morris + Company was awarded first prize with RCKa and CATJA DE HAAS Architects awarded second and third prizes. ADAM KHAN ARCHITECTS received a special mention.
London’s housing crisis is forcing the most vulnerable onto the streets. The Hidden Homeless competition tackles this issue head-on.
The growing homeless crisis urgently needs to be addressed from a political, social, and planning policy perspective. Housing benefit cuts, insufficient supply of affordable housing, and cuts in council funding and mental health services have left vulnerable people with nowhere to go.
The design ideas competition, organised by Colander Associates, called for proposals providing short and medium-term accommodation for up to 28 homeless 16-21 year olds, including dormitories, shared living accommodation, cultural and retail space, as well as a private development opportunity (either commercial or private housing) which can co-exist with the homeless facility, providing financial viability and ensuring the homeless are an integral part of their community.
The site is located within the listed, disused York Road Station near King’s Cross and close to the New Horizon Youth Centre. Jon Snow, Chair of the Judging Panel and Patron of New Horizon Youth Centre, states: “The winning proposal by Joe Morris and his team offers a flexible combination of accommodation with a 24hr active ground floor area, providing both a sense of community and the necessary commercial revenue. Working with imaginative architects and major players across the property industry, we can make youth homelessness a thing of the past”.
James Murray, Deputy Mayor, Housing and Residential Development, commented: “Young Londoners are suffering some of the worst effects of London’s housing crisis, with many ending up sofa surfing or in some cases with no choice other than to sleep rough. The competition entries propose some innovative, creative and sustainable approaches, helping ensure young people have a safe place to stay while they find longer-term solutions. I very much hope these entries will help lead to new projects that provide much-needed shelter and support for young Londoners.”
John McAslan, Executive Chairman of John McAslan + Partners, added: “Young people are the hidden face of homelessness, often sofa-surfing or sleeping on buses, in transient housing or shelters. The winning mixed use scheme for the Hidden Homeless competition by one of the UK’s most impressive architects demonstrates an imaginative and pragmatic approach to this challenging project.”
‘Stepping Stones’ provides a stepping stone towards a home for life. It supports homeless young residents temporarily whilst also catering for a transient community of young professionals finding their bearings in London. Each resident is treated with equal dignity, and all living spaces have been designed to follow the same ‘ingredients for living’. With publicly accessible co-working spaces and the charity shop at ground level, the residents’ shared home becomes a key destination for the local community, with visitors coming and going in a safe and managed environment. The hidden homeless are no longer hidden but are supported at the centre of a vibrant community rich with opportunity.
Prizes were awarded as follows: 1st place £3,500, 2nd place £1,000, 3rd place £500.
Morris + Company | www.morrisand.company
RCKa | www.rcka.co.uk
Catja de Haas Architects | www.catjadehaas.com
John McAslan + Partners | www.mcaslan.co.uk
Pocket Living | www.pocketliving.com
James Murray, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development | www.london.gov.uk
New Horizon Youth Centre | www.nhyouthcentre.org.uk
Colander Associates Ltd | www.colander.co.uk