Summertime bar funds winter refuge for homeless
Rooftop Refuge by Reed Watts Architects
The winning design addresses the challenges of homelessness through an innovative dual-use intervention. The site is the flat roof at Bishop’s Palace House, a mixed-use riverside building at Kingston-upon-Thames.
Reed Watts proposes a lightweight structure with contrasting seasonal uses that make the most of its Thamesside location. In summer it is a revenue-generating bar; in winter it converts into a shelter and advice centre for rough sleepers, subsidised by the income from its summer incarnation.
With its bright pink colour and saw-tooth roof, the building is intended to have a distinctive identity on the Kingston skyline. The structure is formed from a combination of SterlingOSB Zero roof trusses and panels supported by cruciform OSB columns with a skin of rigid insulation covered by polycarbonate, while the floor is tongue and groove OSB. It has been designed for demountability and recycling with the help of easily disassembled peg joints. Access is via an OSB walkway from an independent stair.
Booths line either side of the interior with a kitchen, bar and toilets at the rear and large swing doors opening onto a riverfront terrace. In the project’s winter mode, the booths become private bed spaces and additional sleeping pods are inserted in the central area. Part of the main bar is retained as a social and dining space with counselling rooms to either side. Surplus food from the restaurants below will help provide meals.
According to the entrant, the bar’s prominent location is intended to serve as a reminder, especially when illuminated at night, that homelessness is not a problem that can be ignored but should be tackled with understanding and creativity.
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