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Homeless/Home-Plus: Spa City

Part 2 Project 2011
Michelle Rowihab
London South Bank University | UK
The project aims to create an environment for self-cleansing within a much polluted transport hub located on both sides of London’s Westway motorway as it intersects with Edgware Road, an area of strong middle eastern influence. Aimed at London’s homeless population, this social condenser reconnects the current social and physical divide created by the Westway since its construction in 1967.

Based on the hammam, Spa City brings a middle eastern tradition of public bathing that becomes a social hub for the surrounding communities. Rainwater harvesting emphasises the importance for human replenishment and renewal, creating a self-sustainable environment providing water for the surrounding community. The roofscape channels rainwater through structural columns/downpipes, exchanging the sounds of the motorway for the therapeutic trickle of water. Potable water is an essential part of daily living yet it comes with a cost, so the remaining water is filtered to provide drinking water throughout the site.

The building form is based on the concept of mountainous springs. An exploration of folding structural surfaces was carried out through extensive model making techniques to create the final structural form. A curving route contrasts with the folding roof structure, extending Church Street’s close-knit community to connect north and south. Louis Khan’s interpretation of ‘the street’ (a place of social interaction), and ‘the corridor’ (a place of observation) were key to treating homelessness. On ground level, ‘the street’: stepping topography morphs into basins creating an internal topography. On roof level, ‘the corridor’: a suspended cast glass swimming pool allows observation of activity below through water, the visual shift representing the “diseased, distorted, undereducated and malnourished generation of small children who, without dramatic intervention on a scale for which the nation seems entirely unprepared, will grow into the certainty of an unemployable adulthood”.
(Jonathan Kozol).

Within the internal landscape, the multilevel steam towers allow maximum use of heat and steam, whilst also using condensation for the recycling of water. The roofscape rises towards a double skin hotel and spa tower allowing contextual fit with the neighbouring police station. Attractive views look out into spa city and the city beyond.

Michelle Rowihab


Ms Lilly Kudic
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