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Reed Watts installs its flat-pack shelter at homeless charity

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Reed Watts has installed a flat-pack shelter at a homelessness charity in south London and plans to give away the designs as a prototype for others

The London-based practice helped to build the 10 temporary ‘sleeping pods’ last week at 999 Club, a charity based in Deptford which helps homeless people.

Designed as a reusable short-term structure easily assembled in empty halls, the pods are made of interlocking panels and can be assembled by hand without the use of tools. 

The project is the result of an ideas competition run by housing charity Commonweal which sought proposals from architects for designs that could improve the living conditions of homeless migrant workers.

The basic 2m-high pods are made of fireproof birch plywood and have a raised platform for a bed and curtains for privacy. 

The design, including cutting and assembly instructions, will be made freely available by Commonweal and Reed Watts for charities to use under an open-source Creative Commons License.

Commonweal ran the competition, Starter for Ten, after conducting research into the lives of migrants sleeping in tents in the capital. 

Reed Watts co-founder Matt Watts said the practice was pleased the design had ‘life beyond’ the competition. ’Sometimes these competitions don’t see the light of day,’ he said. ‘That’s the great thing about Commonweal. They want to see ideas realised.’

We hope to give as many organisations as possible an opportunity to use the pods

‘By releasing the designs as a royalty-free Creative Commons license we hope to give as many organisations as possible an opportunity to use the pods.’

999 Club chief executive Tim Fallon said: ‘We are excited about launching these sleeping pods which are the first of their kind in the capital. They will provide very welcome privacy and a quiet space for people who come to our night shelter at their most vulnerable time.’

In its design brief, the charity said: ‘We genuinely don’t know what the answer is and need creative ideas. We are not looking to create a permanent housing solution – that is a wider issue that absolutely needs to be addressed.

‘Instead, the purpose of this competition is to find a viable and deliverable model for demountable, reusable, short-term accommodation options that can be deployed within existing buildings.’

Deptford-based firm Aldworth James & Bond fabricated the panels pro bono with materials sponsored by Specialised Panel Products.

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