Camden Road Hostel is one of a suite of temporary accommodation projects forming a key part of Camden Council’s Community Investment Programme. Replacing substandard bedrooms for those in immediate need of safe and secure housing, Camden Road Hostel – together with projects at Chester Road and the Godwin & Crowndale Estate – will also act as pilots for the council’s rollout of volumetric modular construction.
The building sits on the edge of the Camden Square facing the busy Camden Road, and will replace an existing hostel building which is no longer fit for purpose; a feasibility study determined that retention and refurbishment would result in substandard accommodation.
Common with many RCKa projects, the arrangement of circulation space encourages social interaction between residents, helping to nurture a sense of community among those who may only be living here for a short space of time. A small seating area next to each front door allows occupants to enjoy views across the landscaped garden, and to keep watch over children playing below. A community room in the rear garden provides informal meeting space, a small kitchen, and an opportunity for informal gatherings.
The security of residents – some of whom will have arrived here from challenging home environments – is paramount, yet the scheme adopts a solution which makes the building approachable and welcoming whilst retaining a secure line between the public and private realms. There is a single entrance, with an open and accessible reception area, beyond which lies a sunken courtyard featuring play space for young children.
To make best use of the site, the scheme extends to six floors, stepping down to either side to address the height of the neighbouring properties. The presence of mature trees within the front garden, protected by tree preservation orders, required the building line to be set back from the street, reducing the apparent height of the building when viewed from up and down the street.
Every home, with the exception of three wheelchair-accessible ground floor rooms, will be identical, and constructed offsite to minimise disturbance to neighbours during the construction process. The façade will be clad in green glazed terracotta.
Camden Road Hostel will provide a vital place of refuge in times of need, yet through a series of small but significant moves, allow a supportive and interdependent community to flourish.
London Borough of Camden
Start on site 2021
Holly Le Var