Homeless and food waste are both major issues in China. With the rapid development of China’s economy, a huge percentage of the population shifted to big cities(like Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Beijing), which caused homelessness to be more serious. Although the government set up relief stations to provide free food and short-term shelters, it could not fundamentally help them. Separately, food waste is a problem because a large number of products are discarded just because they are not good-looking or close to the expiry date.
“New Life” is a centre for the homeless, located in Guangzhou, China.
The proposal is to help the homeless reintegrate into society by providing interview training, skills training, accommodation, emotional and medical support, educating the public through the exhibition, and bringing revenue by setting up a food waste restaurant. There is an interconnection between the homeless and students by exchanging skills and experience, and helping the homeless make the transition to independent living. The area will also bring nature into the building to create a healing environment to eliminate stress and anxiety, get more energy, and explore themselves.
The main materials that I use are concrete, plywood, and Cross-Laminated-Timber. All the materials are local. This project mainly faces the homeless, so the materials need to be more simple and affordable. Using those materials, while lower the budget, can also create a more relaxed environment. The Cross-Laminated-Timber(CLT) is used for the ramp and outdoor bridge. This material can be constructed 50 percent faster than concrete. Requires fewer deliveries to the site, and offers a far more pleasant environment for the construction workers. And it has opportunities for significant advantages over steel, concrete, or masonry construction in terms of environmental credentials, speed, weight, and structure as the finish.
The project is limited by site, target clients, and budget constraints.
Terms of the site, this site is an abandoned factory and it is long and narrow. But the stairs are located on both sides of the building, which is not conducive to people's passage. So aiming at this problem, in the middle of the building, I designed a ramp to lead people to each floor.
As it is mainly facing the homeless, this center is to help them to meet different people, get closer to each other, and reduce their stress. But there is no connection between each floor, which reduces the communication between people. So there is a whole-way ramp in the middle of the building. The ramp is the communal gathering platform for all the users, it contains a walking path, different level platforms, and plant boxes to give people a feeling of being in nature and they can visual communication with each other.
For the budget issue, there are relative constraints on the budget since the project is mainly for the homeless. So the materials that I use are concrete and plywood, which can lower the cost but also created a more relaxed and comfortable environment. At the same time, it also reused the discarded products to make modifications to reduce costs. Like the pallet gathering area on the second floor and the pallet garden on the rooftop both are using discarded pallets. Even the lamps and seats are also made of discarded birdcages, rope, wheels, and other abandoned materials.