Instead of brawling with architects over designs he doesn’t like, perhaps Prince Charles would like to use his clout in favour of buildings like this? It’s the new St Mungo’s homeless hostel in Hither Green, which replaces a dingy old one that the architect Peter Barber describes as “hideous, dark and claustrophobic“. This building is light, airy and open plan, with residents moving through the different areas as they progress beyond initial assessment and, eventually, into accommodation elsewhere.
We think this is great; it banishes the Victorian model of sticking the most unfortunate members of our society in the skankiest crapholes that are (barely) standing. The idea is to give residents hope and a sense of self-esteem (there’s IT facilities, education and training programmes and a garden to grow flowers and veg). For locals, there may be a certain poignancy in this hostel opening shortly after the death of Big Issue Seller Rob, who was an almost permanent feature outside the station. If St Mungo’s can help others avoid his fate, we’re all for it. (Image from the St Mungo’s website, where they have a lot more.)