Sunday, September 20, 2009

A homeless shelter so nice
you might want to live there, too

The Spring Gardens Center, near London, England, offers a fresh approach to designing shelters as places of transformation.

Instead of sticking homeless people in dank, miserable-looking shelters, why not put them in open, airy accommodations that inspire confidence?

That's the idea behind Spring Gardens, a hostel for the homeless built by St. Mungo's, a homeless charity in London.

"Spring Gardens is fresh thinking in hostel design, having been built from a blank canvas," said Charles Fraser, chief executive of St Mungo's. "Homeless people deserve decent homes and supportive environments. We have a transformational building which we hope will stimulate transformations in the lives of those who live here."

The hostel, which was built as part of the U.K. government's Places for Change program, uses a giant, single room as a public area. In addition to providing a communal space for residents to enjoy computer stations, pool tables, the dining hall, and a library, the set-up also allows staff to easily keep an eye on residents with alcohol, drug, or mental problems.

Take a look around Spring Gardens here. And read an article in the Guardian here.


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