Friendship House Southwark, London SE1 Project info

Friendship House

Southwark, London SE1

This new hostel in Southwark is for the London Hostels Association, a charity whose objective is to provide accommodation at reasonable cost to working people and students in London.

Friendship House is extremely popular with its residents, and there is very high demand for places.

Not only is Friendship House regarded by London Hostels Association as its flagship development, but it sets a fine standard for single-person housing in Britain’s city centres.

Building, July 2004

We needed to make the most of the space offered by the restricted site, which is in a densely populated inner- city area. The 179 bed-sit rooms are therefore arranged in a spiral fitting tightly to the site’s boundaries. Much thought was devoted to the design of the rooms, which had to be small to make the project viable. Windows were placed adjacent to party walls to enhance reflected light and, combined with the design of the fitted furniture, to provided well articulated rooms.

The bed-sit rooms are arranged around a central courtyard containing a pool and fountain which reflect light and produce a gentle white noise that camouflages the noise of the nearby railway and streets. Cutting across this quiet space is a green slate walkway which connects the main ground floor common rooms back to the reception area. Kitchens, serving as subsidiary common rooms, are located in the corners of the courtyard.

External finishes are white render with mosaic inserts, zinc shingles on the elevation facing the neighbouring railway line railway, and glass planks around the tops of the stair towers.

  • Client
    LHA London
  • Awards
    Housing Design Award, 2005
    RIBA Award, 2005
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Photos: Peter Durant