Cedar's Road Hostel

Barber, Peter
St Mungo’s Association, Clapham, London
English
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This built project by Barber is one of a series of five hostel designs for St Mungo’s Association around London. It acts as a\ud stepping stone or ‘mini-foyer' facility in Clapham for homeless people attempting to make the jump from institutional hostel living\ud to independent living. This strategy is now enshrined as government policy, but Barber was the first to give it a distinctive\ud architectural agenda. All these hostels are being part-funded by the Department of Communities and Local Government, and\ud are seen as research exemplars for others to learn from. As such, the Cedars Road Hostel should be read in conjunction with\ud the four further schemes for the same client association: one at Church Walk in Hackney, one the Cinderella House in\ud Southwark, one at St Pancras Way near Kings Cross – all of them built and in use – and another, far larger scheme currently in\ud design for a mixed hostel/housing development in Lewisham.\ud Research issues are those of how to adapt the program requirements and site conditions to create new types of low-cost\ud community building for homeless people, and again how to utilise new fabrication technologies with a tight budget and\ud construction schedule. The research driver in these projects is that of architecture as a social endeavour which can meet and\ud enhance community needs. Cedars Road and its companion hostels should thus be understood as an ambitious and innovative\ud attempt to devise an architectural approach which provides benefits to those in socially vulnerable positions without dominating\ud or alienating them. The ‘foyer’ idea is one that developed in France and then Britain a decade or so ago, and which is now being\ud given a new lease of life by these projects for St Mungo’s Association. Cedars Road was written up glowingly in RIBA Journal\ud (August 2007, pp. 40-46).

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