Homeless Sanctuary

The proposed site sits close to the existing commercial zone of Petaling Street—a tourist and commercial spot—which will create an attraction for the public. This project aims to provide a sanctuary for the homeless and a place for them to maintain personal hygiene. It targets to reduce divisions, improve bonding and build trust between the public and the homeless people. The homeless can register for assistance from the Kechara Soup Kitchen—a non-governmental organisation (NGO) with an objective of providing food for the homeless and urban poor. They also act as a point of contact for the homeless to receive counselling services and medical care, as well as access to employment opportunities. The homeless people can move into the shelter for certain periods based on terms and conditions and attain training to ready themselves before integrating back into the society. To achieve this target, income will need to be generated to sustain the shelter, training centre and NGO.

Temporary bath and hygiene facilities will be provided to encourage the homeless to keep themselves clean and tidy. The design concept imitated the form of the existing shophouses to create a sense of continuity. Gridlines were applied for space arrangements and encouraged the use of modular components. Lightweight construction will be adopted for these facilities that will be built for temporary purposes and help to differentiate between the old and new elements. Other building features include the rainwater harvesting system, louvre façade and voids that facilitate natural ventilation, as well as advertisement boards that act as income generators.

The simple architectural form will cater spaces for the proposed new commercial zone, homeless accommodation and training centre. The public zone will be located nearer to the existing commercial zone and was designed to be close to areas with higher levels of human traffic and activities. Main vehicle access will be provided on a two-way road, which will encourage the public to approach the proposed public zone.

The private zone will be situated in the inner part of the site, with a semi-public/semi-private area in between the public and private zones. The narrow building blocks allow for private and public squares to be formed between them. They will be orientated to capture the prevailing wind and encourage cross ventilation. A distribution street that crosses these two squares will provide a visual connection and interaction between the public and the homeless. It has a prominent entrance that leads the homeless to obtain their food during distribution time, while not obstructing the activities in the public square. There is a wider and broader plaza that was designed to form a gathering space for the public, as well as a café that complements the square. There is also a showcase kitchen for the public to witness the efforts of homeless people in making changes that will upgrade the quality of their lives. This can help to reduce the negative opinions of the public towards them.

Since the whole building has a similar form, refabricated steel structure and reinforced concrete will be used to help reduce the cost and time of construction of the building. Onyx photovoltaic glass panels and skylights will be installed for maximum daylight.

The non-profit centre will require stable income to ensure its sustainability and serve the community. Hence, the café and restaurant, merchandise and artwork, hawker centre, training room and workshop will function as sources of income. The public square will be available for rent as an event venue.

Student Name: Lim Yuong Ann
School: UCSI University
Programme: Bsc (Hons) Architecture
Instructors: Sharon Ong; Wan Mohammad; Nik Syazwan
Project Name: Homeless Sanctuary
Location: Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Site Area: 10,475 square metres
Gross Floor Area: 2,395.5 square metres
Building Height: 2 storeys (maximum 8.6 metres)
Images/Photos: Lim Yuong Ann
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