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New European Bauhaus
News article17 June 20211 min read

A beautiful building with life-changing power

We want to see sustainable housing solutions that lead to more inclusive communities.


Have you ever thought how life-changing the power of a place can be?

This is the example of the Holmes Road Studios in London: A beautiful homeless facility providing high-quality residential accommodation together with training and counselling spaces, as well as a social enterprise space all laid out around a delightful courtyard garden.

Residents of homeless hostels are among the most vulnerable in society. Many of them need support with resolving mental or other health struggles, securing a long-term solution to their housing needs, learning basic life skills and, where possible, entering into training and given introductions leading to work.

Everyone needs a secure, comfortable, warm, and dry place to call home.

The project provides accommodation for 59 people. Most of the housing is arranged in studio houses forming terraces fronting the garden, in an almshouse typology.

These micro houses have a double-height brick vault with an ensuite bathroom at the back of the plan and a mezzanine bed space raised above the bathrooms.

The rooms are lit via a partially glazed door, pretty-looking circular windows, and a roof light. The buildings are constructed in rustic-looking brick with a crinkle crankle parapet, giving the project a relaxed domestic feel.

All of the rooms look out over the garden. The aim is to have a group of residents working with a gardener to create and maintain an intensely planted and beautiful garden. There would be an apple tree or two, potatoes, green veg, soft fruit, herbs, a greenhouse, a potting shed, and a sunny spot to sit and rest. There ought to be a little room/shed in the garden for private chats (1:1) and counselling.

The garden creates a homely, domestic atmosphere in the hostel. It provides people with an opportunity to develop gardening skills and encourage them to think and learn about nutrition. It will give participating residents an interest and outlet for their energy. It will also help to foster a sense of belonging, self-worth & empowerment.

? Holmes Road Studios © Peter Barber Architects


Publication date
17 June 2021