Architect George Fisher Develops Modular Social Space for Homeless Hostel
Introduction to the Project
Architectural designer George Fisher has designed an innovative outdoor social space for Project Malachi, a homeless hostel situated in London. The new area was created using the modular U-Build system, a product of Studio Bark, and was specifically designed to cater to the needs of the hostel’s residents during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Utilizing London’s Design Approach
Throughout the process, Fisher’s design was influenced by London’s Approach to Commercial Design, where creating inspiring spaces that foster interaction and community is a key focus. This philosophy is reflected in the design of the three distinct plywood structures that comprise the outdoor area.
The U-Build System
The U-Build system is a simple flatpack construction system developed by architecture firm Studio Bark to encourage self-build projects. The system, championed in Fisher’s design, relies on a kit of plywood parts that can easily be assembled to form structures. These structures can then be dismantled, reused or recycled at the end of their lifespan, promoting sustainability.
Engaging Residents in the Construction
Fisher’s design approach was not just about creating an outdoor space, but also about empowering the residents by involving them in the construction process. The residents were active participants in the building process, from initial co-design to the final construction, fostering a sense of ownership and pride in their shared space.
Distinct Spaces for Different Needs
The design features three distinct architectural configurations that cater to various needs – spaces for solitary contemplation, social gatherings and communal dining. This multifaceted design approach was driven by the voices of the residents themselves, ensuring their needs were met.
The Final Design
The final design includes a communal table, colorful alcoves for book storage, and translucent plastic roofs for shielding from the rain. The plywood used in the project was donated by Latham Timber, one of the UK’s largest independent trade distributors of timber, and cut using CNC routing.
Transforming Architecture into a Vessel for Communal Growth
According to Fisher, this project serves as an illustration of how modern construction methods can democratise design and construction ethos within our built environment. Here, architecture transcends physical structures to become a vessel for communal growth, learning, and a shared sense of belonging.