Seyi Adewole: The Croydon Gateway


London is a world city. It is simultaneously expanding and contracting, growing ever-outwards – and upwards – yet on the brink of divorce from the neighbouring continent. The next generation of designers must deliver fresh thinking to tackle issues that range from the scale of the street to global climate change. We asked pioneering graduates from the LSA how they’d adapt London to ensure that it is inclusive of its citizens, integrated with nature and fit for the future

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.