Select student

Jonathan Stevens

Building a new community

The Syrian civil war has entered its eighth year and 5.6 million Syrians have fled the country as refugees.  The UK government has promised to offer homes to 20,000 of those refugees; so far 11,000 have arrived for resettlement.  My project seeks to welcome a small number of those refugees and help them (1) exchange the trauma of war for peace, (2) exchange the refugee camps for real homes, and lastly (3) exchange living on charity for supported enterprise.

I believe architecture is about people; real people, real needs, real aspirations so I look to know my clients, the day-to-day users of architectural space.  After researching the lives of a number different Syrian refugees, I developed a brief for Silvertown based on water’s edge village blocks with residential apartments alongside a careful mix of business, retail, recreational and shared community areas.  With a flexible structure and layout, studio spaces could readily be converted to homes and vice versa.  There is space for creatives of all sorts too, not just from Syria, but local people.

Whilst City Airport is just to the east of the site, the noise from its aircraft will not disturb the residents behind acoustic insulation and triple glazing but will instead add to the excitement of the markets held in the central village squares, where the scent of baking and cooking from the adjacent restaurant will waft tantalisingly.


Declan Allison