Asylum seekers and refugees tend to be housed in camps in peripheral areas, and often the support they need is dispersed in hard-to-access remote parts of the city. This strategy for Croydon integrates displaced people into the existing communities, while creating a one-stop-shop facility that offers the help they need to start a new life in UK.
Occupying a prime position by East Croydon station, the prominent gateway signals that in-coming residents are an asset to be welcomed. Conceived as a key civic building, the centre includes social areas, workspace, retail, affordable housing and support facilities. The architecture conveys a sense of security, robustness and permanence.
Three different garden areas – for food-growing, relaxation and play – spill into the public realm, blurring the boundary between the building and surrounding neighbourhood. A market garden and trading area offers an opportunity for people to set up food stalls and acts as a magnet for employees of surrounding businesses to sample cuisine from the different cultures on site.