Shelter From The Storm

Shelter from the Storm

London, UK

Shelter from the Storm (SFTS) is a London based homeless shelter that provides 42 beds, freshly cooked food and holistic support to its guests to help them reintegrate back into society.

The café has a large and open frontage, the shelter entrance is intended to be private and familiar, identifiable by a homely red front door. Upon arrival, guests are greeted with an entrance space that is domestic in scale with a smaller private room directly adjacent if needing to compose themselves before entering the shelter. As you move through the shelter, the scale of each space slowly increases, aiding a smooth transition to the open kitchen and dining area

View of the communal area © Nicholas Worley

A short video of Shelter from the Storm © Jim Stephenson

Humanising Homelessness

An essential part of our undertaking was understanding and responding to preconceived ideas about homelessness and the homeless. Our approach was to embed the idea of transparency into the scheme. This was achieved by inserting new windows and internal openings that allow views in, out and through the space. Similarly, the dual use of the shelter as a community café aims to open the shelter to the broader community. By inviting the general public into the shelter, they are simultaneously invited into the debate about how to demystify homelessness.

Co-founder Sheila Scott © Jack Hobhouse

The garden and Cafe at 91 © Jack Hobhouse

Throughout the project, each detail was carefully considered ensuring robustness as well as dignity and a sense of ownership for the guests. Bedrooms and bathrooms are based upon typical domestic typologies. For example, sinks and mirrors are separate providing guests with something of their own within a communal space.

During the COVID pandemic we returned to assist the shelter by designing bespoke screens that allowed them to stay open.

COVID screens designed during the pandemic to protect guests © Nicholas Worley

COVID screens were also installed around the kitchen © Nicholas Worley

Volunteers socialising in the kitchen area © Jack Hobhouse

Axonometric drawing of the project

The site was previously an abandoned supermarket © Holland Harvey

The original brief from our client