A community centre for the homeless that overlooks Canterbury Cathedral and a cafe designed for people with disabilities are included in Dezeen’s latest school show by students at the Canterbury School of Architecture.
Also included is a “lush haven” aiming to encourage younger generations to adopt more wholesome ways of living, and a project that reimagines a derelict car park as an urban farm.
Canterbury School of Architecture
“The BA Interior Architecture and Design course at UCA Canterbury takes a multi-disciplinary approach to the transformation of unused and undervalued spaces and places. It encourages the students to embrace traditional means of designing whilst exploring the role of ‘narrative’ as a tool to unlock imagination and develop new design possibilities.
“Understanding the long-term impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our everyday lives will take time and deep investigation to grasp. But there is a growing interest in the food that we’re eating, the natural world, and the environmental crisis that hangs heavy over all of us. There’s much more progress to be made, but as designers, this provides us with an opportunity to test, experiment and present new ideas that will one day make a positive impact on the world around us.
“Our graduating students have explored the future of hospitality, thinking about the tools and rituals involved with food and eating, the facilities that these requirements, and their ability to bring people together. How do we use hospitality to educate and reconnect people to their immediate environments? To rethink how and what we eat? And ultimately, bring people together again?”
Safe Neighbourhood by Adesola Omole
“My final project focuses on the homeless community of Canterbury. It addresses the rising cases of homelessness found in the city. Whilst some pre-existing organisations and facilities do excellent work to help them, the one thing that this specific community lack is a ‘chill’ zone – a space specifically for them.
“I wanted to remove the pressure of any preconceived social hierarchies, and I developed a community centre where they could come together, sit, eat and relax, without feeling like outcasts from the wider community.”
Sunshine Dream by Anna Bacso
“Working with the Dreamland Heritage Trust, my project looks at the redevelopment of Dreamland’s Sunshine Cafe in Margate (UK). Engaging with the trust’s brief and Margate’s rich culture, I propose a space that brings the community together to promote creativity, local history and tradition.
“I wanted to represent the name ‘Sunshine Cafe’ by using the natural sunlight and colourful acrylic walls to create a playful and bright environment. The space is multifunctional and can be used for workshops, exhibitions and film screenings. There is a cafe bar and a place where archive documents are safely stored.”
Student: Anna Bacso
Course: BA Interior Architecture and Design
The Safety Net by Armita Vajdi
“Connecting with your personal culture can be an issue for those that are bi-cultural. Living with two cultural identities can often lead to an individual prioritising one over the other, depending on the culture that they are currently interacting with.
‘The Safety Net aims to bring aspects of Persian culture to Iranians who have migrated to the UK in order to maintain the connection to their second identity. Members of The Safety Net are provided with exclusive benefits and services, such as a dining area with specialised cuisine, a library of cultural knowledge, a communal social space and a giant backgammon set.”
The City Exchange by Rebecca Rumsey
“It’s 2025, and the pandemic has spiralled out of control! The severe job shortages and lack of support have meant that families cannot pay their rent and their mortgages. Homelessness is now the biggest issue that we are facing as a country.
“I propose a members club for Canterbury’s homeless community, in the city centre and in view of the famous Canterbury Cathedral. We will provide essential hygiene facilities, a laundrette and personal mailboxes and space for skills-based workshops from CV-writing to culinary classes, to help people reconnect to their former lives.”
Civil Agronomy Centre by Cherry Mafutala
“The year is 2030 and the continuing Covid-19 pandemic has caused extreme isolation to become the norm. To combat the negative impacts of social isolation, I am proposing a new pavilion – a new community centre that contains a cafe, marketplace, library and a therapy room to bring people together again.
“With a shared interest in farming and agriculture, there will be workshops in ecology and bee-keeping, as well as space for group therapy sessions. A circular economy to ensure that the pavilion’s organic produce is used in the café, in addition to using solar energy to power the centre.”
The Skylight Cafe by Christiane Gerges
“The Skylight Cafe has been designed for people with disabilities such as partial or complete blindness. The intention is to provide this group of people with a modern space that is easily accessible and sensitive to their needs.
“Double-height ceilings and specific materials that play with levels of transparency are key to exploring the way that light moves through the building. For those with less sight-visibility, the texture becomes an important tool to help navigate the building to create a new spatial experience. People with disabilities deserve to have a safe but also a modern space they can find comfort in.”
New Cafe by Ineui Park
“With a newly emerging virtual culture that can be interlinked within previous architectural culture, space can be designed to allow for more enthusiastic and interactive activities and occurrences.
“Beyond the conventional cafe, providing more than just refreshments to customers, the space will offer a full experience, a virtual environment physically embodied to awaken customers senses and kickstart a new trend of hospitality hotspots.”
Feast! Eat the Rich by James Porritt
“The year is 2030, and the battle against Covid-19 has been lost. Food supplies are limited, and the soil in the UK has turned sour, making it difficult to meet the demands for essential nutrition. Nearly all fresh produce is imported from neighbouring countries, which is becoming increasingly more difficult due to the incompletion of Brexit.
“Society is starting to rebuild itself. However, the class divide between those who have and those who don’t is polarised. Poverty and an extreme uncertainty of when they’ll next eat. A resistance group has claimed an abandoned building in the heart of Canterbury, hijacking imports to give to those in need, and this is where we resume the story.”
Lush Haven by Julia Venpin
“The narrative occurs in 2030’s Mauritius, where globalisation has led to one homogenous culture. The omnipresence of fast-food corporations offering processed foods has sucked people into the unhealthy habit of eating out.
“The goal of ‘Lush Haven’ is to allow younger generations to encounter a more primitive and wholesome way of living – reviving home-cooking and rediscovering one’s cultural identity through a communal cooking process.
“Using locally-sourced ingredients and eco-friendly materials, the eatery encourages self-sustainability by implementing horticulture and rearing livestock, creating a circular eco-system. Greenery fills up space and grows throughout the building, nature taking over and reclaiming past farmland.”
Conquest House by Rachel Carabine–Clarke
“The Conquest House Project was inspired by the impacts of lockdown and tackling issues relating to food poverty within the local area of Canterbury. I was inspired by the local architecture and history of Canterbury so chose a building deeply rooted in the city’s history to host my final proposal.
“My final proposal is based around the narrative of the Conquest House Society, a place where people experiencing poverty and the aftereffects of the pandemic, for example, loneliness, could come to a safe space for support and equality without prejudice or societal status. I am a designer who is interested in narrative as well as materiality and texture.”
Vision by Radhika Chagane
“Vision is an interactive space that provides independence and a reformed reality for the blind community. The objective of this concept is to bring communities together by informing, teaching, and entertaining. It is recreating an atmosphere that reflects the old ‘normal’ through the play of light, smells and intricate clay textures.
“The space provides events, talks, therapy sessions, sensory activities, various forms of entertainment, and a play area for guide dogs. It also offers opportunities for employment by educating the blind community on cooking and serving. Making the spaces not just for the blind community but run by the blind community.”
Network by Volen Andreev
“This project explores a future narrative of the installation of 5G towers and its controversial relation to the virus, which has triggered a fear amongst the citizens of Canterbury, Kent. In my work I depict a new establishment of safe towns where all radio wave transmission devices have been abandoned in favour of a return to analogue technology. Over time, citizens have put together an intricate and cryptic telecommunication system of towers using scavenged objects that were found in the historic streets of Canterbury.”
Project 02049 by Xuchen Zhu
“As we move forward in time, the rise in popularity for public transportation gradually replaced the use and demand for private transportation. A side-effect of that is that now there are plenty of vacant underground parking lots, empty and unused. Simultaneously there is the development and promotion of renewable energy.
“Project02049 is made from 80 per cent reclaimed materials – cement, resin, reinforced concrete – and reengineers them into components for light industry and units for urban farming. A facility that inhabits empty parking lots to grow produce and provide sustenance for the urban population. Project02049 presents a sustainable path for future life.”
Oystcrete by Yen Ling Lee
“This project explores a future of a heavily populated world struggling to control food consumption and waste production. Small towns are forced to find methods to self-sustain and create ecosystems to manage food production and decrease waste.
“This project proposes a hub in Whitstable, Kent that uses local sources like oysters to create farming environments and converts its waste, in particular shells from the food industry, to useable construction materials.”
I can connect by Tom Bonner
“Located in the vacant Sunshine Cafe of Dreamland in Margate, Kent. I Can Connect proposes a hub for local people from different backgrounds to connect and celebrate their diversity. The space provides an environment and platform for collaboration, education, workshops and conversation to support the local community.
“I Can Connect is an inclusive community hub that becomes a part of Margate’s wider context, offering a platform for people to exchange new and old memories as well as document and store them within a growing archive within the space. Materially, the project explores the deconstruction of the traditional beach hut, using the form and materials to engage with the pre-existing fabric of the site.”
This school show is a partnership between Dezeen and the Canterbury School of Architecture. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.
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