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Leith Foyer

Part 1 Project 2011
Andrew Barrington
Edinburgh College of Art Edinburgh UK
Imagine you are a homeless young person aged between sixteen and twenty-five years old. You have none of the fundamental things that many of us take for granted. No secure home, no money maybe even no friends. The Foyer acts as a temporary home for you, for up to two years you can stay and re-build your life. Alongside you are up to eighty others who are in the same position. Here you can socialise and learn together in a hope that after a year, you will leave with the necessary skills and knowledge to get your life back on track.

The architecture must be robust not precious, welcoming as a home, but also it offers education where job and life skills can be learnt. Above all it must not have the atmosphere of an institution.

Leith is a complicated area containing a huge variety of different land uses from new housing developments to shipping docks. Running through this is the Water of Leith which acts as a retreat or an alternative route through the area. The site for the Foyer is very much connected to both the environments created by the river. The busy traffic routes that cross the water, almost oblivious to its existence, and the lower, quieter waterside paths. This laterally restricting site called for an architecture that could connect both of these worlds.

To capitalise from the south light, it seemed sensible to organise the accommodation from east to west across the site in an ‘inhabited beam’. Some
personal rooms form linear beams and all rooms receive sunlight and a view of the river. These beams allow floor plans to snake as free forms and create external perches in the sun offering differing qualities through the day for small groups to gather and socialise. The large steel girders evoke strength that the residents feel safe in and can make their own.

The architecture presents a range of opportunities for creative use and adaptation, a welcoming landscape in the sun to raise the spirits and evoke optimism.

Andrew Barrington

Tutor(s)
Mr Mark Walker
2011
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