This live brief project is a collaboration with Culture Bridge using St Peters Parish Centre as a test bed that explores how architectural interventions and design can respond to the identified needs of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. The interventions are designed in continuous collaboration with asylum seekers and refugees in Stockport in response to the needs identified by themselves, the facilitators and users of the community services over the course of 9 engagements. The propositions draw upon the creativity of the participants to envisage a new future that effectively responds to the issues they face in an economically sustainable manner.
The Design Toolkit for integration sets out the required spatial parameters that have derived from collaboratively identified needs and sets out how those needs can be met in practice through the design of the Oasis Centre. The Centre provides local asylum seekers and refugees a place to feel safe whilst engaging with the local community and taking on a journey of integration in the UK. Here they are able to learn and practice English and work towards a future career or educational course. They are able to choose items from the shop and make crafts up in the maker space which can be later sold or exhibited. Visitors are encouraged to learn new skills whilst sharing a growing garden with locals which supplies Naz’s Kitchen with fresh produce to make exciting foods.
The experiential qualities of spaces enables people to prosper in a space that provides safe and comforting places that uplift, build confidence and promote autonomy. This is achieved through a clear focus on physical and visual accessibility, the relationship of spaces with light and nature and informal spaces to chat. The parameters enhance the required activities that promote the healthy integration of asylum seekers and refugees to be able to heal and work towards a future integrated within a new society.