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Ivo Pery — Finding the Hidden Homeless

Each user-group (co-housing/ Private housing, Long-term shelter, Emergency Shelter) can move through the building via an independent stair, allowing visual connections where physical contact must be limited.

Finding the Hidden Homeless — a new approach to homeless prevention. By Ivo Pery.



Former Rail Yard, Plaistow Station, London Borough of Newham



This project proposes a new typology of mixed-use development with the aim of supporting homelessness prevention in London..



Current systems for the homeless focus on relief rather than prevention. This fails to address any underlying societal issues whilst simultaneously costing local authorities millions of pounds each year. This approach must change.



With a shelter at its heart, the scheme also comprises housing and commercial space. By mixing different user groups together, the project encourages positive social interactions which in turn act as drivers for change. Victims of hidden homelessness aged 19-25 will receive shelter as a priority before embarking on learning, training, or work – all hosted within the scheme’s facilities – in order to move toward a more autonomous existence.



By making subtle but powerful changes to the design of conventional developments, this typology could be deployed in any borough, paving the way for comprehensive prevention of homelessness across London.

The masterplan was designed using these key principles. Reducing stigmatisation and ostracisation for homeless individuals was a priority, therefore a strategy involving the mixing of different user groups was essential.
Public-facing uses including a new entrance to Plaistow Station and the shelter are located to the East, with more private residential to the West. Pedestrian and cycle routes connect the site to the Greenway and beyond.


The masterplan has been split into a series of different public and semi-private spaces, allowing residents and visitors to mix freely in a variety of different environments.
The key idea behind the shelter was to create an environment in which different groups can mix in a safe way. In some cases physical interactions must be limited, therefore enabling visual connections became a priority.


The building can be viewed as a reversal of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Those most in need begin at the top and work their way down towards a stable future.
With physical connections limited in some cases, it became important to promote visual connections to create a sense of oneness and cohesion.
Shared spaces are located in the south facade, with cut-out gardens punching though. The rest of the building houses residents, with use groups becoming more private with greater height.


Circulation is celebrated on the facades too, with prominent stair cores on each corner. Residents gardens puncture the facade, allowing light and air into the courtyard.
The south facade is activated by a series of external routes taking residents from shared spaces to the roof terraces. Shared spaces are clad in semi-transparent timber and glass, while more private spaces are shielded with opaque brickwork.


Further Work

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