Earls Court YMCA
Earls Court YMCA is a hostel working to reduce long -term homelessness in Kensington & Chelsea. The building was originally constructed circa 1870 as 2 terraced town houses which were then joined at ground and third floor levels to create a single property. More recently a rear extension had been added but which did little to resolve the deficiencies of the existing building, namely dark, warren like communal areas, poor ventilation and a generally depressing internal environment.
JGA was commissioned to undertake a feasibility study and identified the possibility of replacing the 2 existing stairs either side of a central party wall with a single top lit stair which would bring natural light to the middle of the building, and act as a catalyst for informal meetings between residents. The floor levels of the rear extension were adjusted to create a double height communal room at the rear of the building with a glazed oak screen connecting it to the attractively landscaped rear garden. A further internal glazed oak screen allows views of the garden from within the entrance and office areas, giving the building a transparency it previously lacked and allowing discrete supervision of the main communal areas by staff.
The completed project has proved to be very successful with both residents and staff alike; facilitating the transition between homelessness and self sufficiency for residents and significantly reducing the turnover of staff.