Spring Gardens by Peter Barber Architects



London practice Peter Barber Architects have completed the first part of a rehabilitation centre for homeless people in Lewisham, south London.


Phase one of the Spring Gardens facility comprises two buildings including forty bedrooms, each with their own bathroom and private garden.


A double-height, glazed foyer runs the length of the building and is used as a reception, shared dining area and training space.


Phase two, expected to be completed in 2010, will provide accommodation for residents who are preparing to move back into the community.


Photographs are by Morley Von Sternberg.

Here's some text from the architects:



Spring Gardens is a unique, state of the art homeless facility comprising 2 new buildings forming a quadrangle on 4 sides of a beautiful new landscaped garden in Lewisham.


The main hostel (phase 1) is predominantly a 1 and 2 storey building running along the western edge of the garden, rising to 4 storeys where a feature tower faces the entrance to the garden.


Spectacular double height glazed screen doors lead to a light and airy two storey high atrium/foyer space running the full length of the building. The foyer has uninterrupted views of the garden and provides flexible day spaces, training, reception and shared dining facilities for residents.


The atrium also provides access to 40 bedrooms, each with its own bathroom and south facing private garden.


On the opposite side of the garden a C shaped building (phase 2) runs along the east, north and south sides of the quadrangle.


The building comprises 3 terraces of little studio houses which provide delightful semi independent, short term ‘move on’ accommodation for a further 21 residents preparing to progress from hostel living back into the community.


Phase 1 of the project is now complete and occupied. Phase 2 is expected to be completed in the next 18 months.


“The empty garden site and St Mungo’s inspiring brief provided us with the opportunity to challenge and revolutionise how accommodation and training facilities could be provided for homeless and vulnerable people.


We were asked to focus on how we could create the most wonderful, uplifting and engaging environment possible for the clients and staff who occupy the buildings.” Peter Barber Architects

“I couldn’t sleep the first 3 nights I was here cause I couldn’t believe this was for me – I thought they were going to realise it was a mistake and send me away!” New Spring Gardens resident.

Client/ consultant team Architect: Peter Barber Architects
Client: St Mungo’s
Contractor: Kier Partnership Homes Employer’s Agent/ Project
Manager: Philip Pank Partnership
Structural engineer: Brand Leonard Consulting Engineers M&E (pre contract): Promode

Posted on Tuesday August 4th 2009 at 12:03 am by Zaynab D. Ziari. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Isobel

    Floor plans please!

  • David

    A bit dated to me…

  • Calm Concept !

  • And yeah floor plans please!

  • Shan

    Modernism for a housing project seems a bit cold. For another purpose it could be ok looking- the punched windows up top seem quite beautiful.

  • mike

    done well.

  • GBUK

    Any chance we could have map coordinates of buildings so that we can go see them in the flesh? I live in Lewisham and I have not seen this building! :)

  • Richie

    Nice enough, it does seem a bit conservative and retro but I think that might be partly down to things like the treatment of the glazing and other details.

  • Zabel

    Wow. I thought the building was rehabbed, but it’s a place FOR rehab.

    Looks totally bauhaus with some De Stijl fenestration.

  • Trish

    The Bauhaus called. They want their building back.

  • Post

    I think these guys know photoshop … compare picture 3 and 10 … since lamps are necessary only at night, of course they appear only at night! but where are these funny knobs at daytime?

  • Galaxian

    Amazing, good job! And very nice “clever cube”

  • Matthias

    Question: gardening as the means of training the homeless to rejoin the organized community – was it site-inspired, architect-inspired, or (hopefully) the best and most efficient way, chosen based on professional experience?
    This process requires emotional and psychological healing, as well as restoring the person’s social identity. I’d like to hear THIS is a success story, not another failed urban experiment.

  • gaque

    a couple of these comments are ridiculous. i agree it has quite a few façade resemblances to the dessau bauhaus, but the spaces look wonderful. the building-long lobby is exciting and the central courtyard could be a fantastic space already without phase two.

    i think we are used to formalist renderings on dezeen, so when we get something that is a bit more reserved, we cant comment on anything but the “style.” take a closer look at this project, the spaces, the organization, and you might find it quite compelling.

  • saja

    I like modern architecture it makes sense to use a simple form in designing a house so I agree with this type of architecture

  • Rosa

    The architect and the practice’s ambition is highly appreciated.

    As described in an article in the RIBA Journal Nov. 2009, ‘the practice effectively made its own single-storey curtain-walling system by bolting together otherwise standard timber-framed window units from Scandinavia. It’s an ingenious and effective way of getting the most out of the available budget. ‘

    Looking in this details of the project, to make a home or the homeless people, the architect/the practice put a lot of effort to make a nice home for the people in need, especially within limited budget. I think they deserve the praise.

    It shouldn’t be just about the style of the building form, the spatial quality and the atmosphere it created in relation to the natural lighting means more to the guests and staff there. I think.