Providence Row Activity Centre

By London-based architecture studio featherstone young.

Providence Row Activity Centre

A multi-storey arts and office building for a homelessness charity in East London, United Kingdom. Providing a range of structured and meaningful activities for the users, the new facility features a ground floor bike workshop that focuses on developing useful skills towards employment.

Conceived as an extension of a pre-existing day care facility on an adjacent site, the project's main challenge was to animate the under-used courtyard and improve connections and flow between the two buildings. The landlocked plot allows for one active facade that maximizes on its permeability and visibility. The most prominent feature of the elevation is a partially cantilevering level which extends out in shifting angles towards the main day centre. Accommodating a studio for visual and performing arts, the activities of the space within is projected outwards to gain a transparent presence within the site. The angles of the faceted windows orient the floor away from the street and towards the main centre, giving privacy for users and valuable passive surveillance for staff members.

Opening up into the courtyard, a large set of doors provide access to the ground floor workshop. The widely-hinging aperture provide natural light to enter the space as well as encourages activity to spill over outdoors. in order to maintain maximum flexibility for a variety of functions and activities, the floor plan is kept open with built in storage options. Offices are accommodated on the upper level with a zig-zagging terrace that follows the language of the facade. Finished in bright perforated cladding panels of green and yellow, the bold exterior is a commentary on the invisibility of homeless people.

photo© Tim Brotherton

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