York Road Station Housing

Co-Living & Co-Working

Our aim is to provide a safe and welcoming shelter for young, homeless individuals who need respite, and to partner this with a sustainable revenue stream that is both beneficial to the shelter in monetary value and its residents in social and psychological value.

Our proposal couples the shelter accommodation with a co-working space for young entrepreneurs, young creatives and start-ups. The relationship between the shelter and co-working space will provide transfers of knowledge and skill that will be beneficial to members of the co-working space, and more importantly, enable shelter residents to up-skill. 

The co-working space will provide a financial revenue stream for the shelter, with around 40 desk spaces and associated meeting rooms and facilities that can be hired by members. Furthermore, the public boulevard space could be hired for events, giving additional revenue to the shelter. 

A Neighbourhood Within a Building

The brief asks for several different programmatic threads to be intertwined within one place. Our approach is to create a neighbourhood within a building.  The ground floor houses the co-working spaces. The first floor and second floor form the townhouses for the residents of the shelter.

Our proposal involves building a community within a community. This helps young residents, who often lead solitary, isolated lives when they are homeless, become acclimated to the type of group living that most teens and young adults experience, such as shared apartments and dorms. In addition to providing housing, the shelter and its relationship with the co-working space would provide support services such as mentorship, job training, and education programs for residents.

A Safe and Secure Home

The building has two facades - the secure and protective exterior, and the inner internal façade which forms the village within the building. In between these spaces, the communal social spaces become the therapeutic “heart” of the shelter.

Our proposal provides a variety of  psychologically  informed spaces for residents who feel comfortable in different environments and scenarios. Small, intimate and private spaces are provided, as well as more public spaces within the boulevard itself and  the cafe at the entrance. Residents can also make use of the “in between spaces” and communal social spaces

The shelter accommodation is composed of 26 bed spaces clustered into 4 houses, one each for short term male and female residents and one each for medium term male and female residents. Each have their own communal kitchens. Bed spaces for residents are designed to channel a sense of home.

These “Townhouses,” surround a central corridor that is metaphorically thought of as a “Mews.” The mews is found just off the “Main Street”. Found on the Main Street are larger communal spaces, a laundry room and counselling rooms. Seating areas are interspersed throughout the building, intended to encourage activity throughout the whole building. Large skylights illuminate the interior and limit the need for artificial light.

The safety of staff and residents is paramount, and our aim is to achieve this through good design and lighting in common areas and without the need for intrusive surveillance. Balconies and large windows act as a passive security means. Balconies overlook the central social spaces and incorporated large windows throughout help maintain sight lines throughout the space. All dormitories are linked to the heart space. Open, green areas can promote the opportunity to socialise.

Our proposal does not include an additional private flat for rent. We propose additional medium-term rooms are provided that could be rented out for a small fee to a young person who needs a place to live in the medium term. These spaces could be filled by the local council or a local charity such as Centrepoint. 

The Reception Desk as a Town Hall

For us, the first point of contact for new residents entering the shelter is crucial. We propose the reception desk should have the same civic presence as a town hall, but able to welcome any type of person and assist in their needs.

Residents to the shelter and the co-working members share one entrance, and arrive at a curated, welcoming reception desk which is linked to the New Horizons Youth Centre. At the desk,  new residents are greeted by the shelter operative alongside the hosts welcoming members to the co-working space. Residents are led up the stairs to the shelter, whilst co-workers are directed to the public boulevard space and onto their workspace.  

The arrangement of the lobby means the co-working area can be locked out of hours, whilst access to the shelter remains.

Building Relationships Between Co-Workers and Co-Inhabitants

The co-working space operates a membership system and would offer three types of workspace; hot desk space, dedicated desk space and one lockable office.

Members would have the opportunity to become a ‘Faculty Member’. Faculty Members would agree to give an amount of time a month to the shelter and its residents. This could be in the form of mentorship to the residents, for example. Faculty Members would receive a discount on their monthly membership fee. This would create meaningful relationships between the shelter and the workspace and its members.

Furthermore, the workspace offers a number of opportunities for residents of the shelter to up-skill. Residents would be able to access the internet terminals in the public boulevard. There could also be employment or training opportunities such as the barista to the coffee shop.

Location    London, UK
Budget      Undisclosed
Status        Competition 


2018 Shortlisted: Hidden Homeless Competition