ST MARY’S SHLETERS - A STRATEGY TO PROVIDE SPACE AND HOSTEL FOR HOMELESS PEOPLE IN GLASGOW CENTRE
St Mary’s Shelters is a shelter developed in the framework of a City Strategy proposing four buildings aiming to raise awareness and relieve the ever-growing issue of homelessness in Glasgow.
St Mary’s Shelters is a shelter developed in the framework of a City Strategy proposing four buildings aiming to raise awareness and relieve the evergrowing issue of homelessness in Glasgow. It incorporates temporary accommodation for the most deprived providing 36 beds for the homeless, as well as freshly cooked meals, rehabilitative support and sanitary care. The shelter – which takes over the disused and dilapidated St Mary’s courtyard west of George Square – has been designed with interiors that evoke sensitivity, domesticity, and warmth. In the same framework of the other three schemes, at the heart of the design brief was the question: ‘How can design improve the rehabilitation of the most vulnerable?’ In that way the design was led by the core philosophy of primitive communal needs of sharing a bath and meals together as the starting point of a guest’s transformational journey.
In response, an underground bathhouse is positioned centrally at the plot of the courtyard that is open to local residents, in a bid to encourage channels of discussion between the general public and society’s vulnerable. After all, we are all the same when we are wearing almost nothing. The dorms are in a slender tall tower at upper levels hovering over the courtyard. As the homeless sector is a complex territory, an understanding of the sensitivities and needs of the guests was imperative. It was important to create a protected environment where the fragile quests feel that both their mental and physical health are being cared for.