On Friday 13th May, HRH The Duke of Cambridge reopened the newly refurbished St Vincent’s Centre in London, Victoria, which is run by homeless charity, The Passage.
Established in 1980, The Passage help homeless people transform their lives by providing resources that encourage, inspire and challenge. The organisation runs the UK’s largest support centre for homeless and insecurely housed people – and since its inception has helped over 100,000 individuals in crisis.
Following a two-year transformation led by architects Buckley Grey Yeoman, The St Vincent’s Centre – first constructed in 1863 as a girls’ orphanage and night school, has been renovated to meet the ever increasing demands of providing adequate care and support for the homeless people of London.
The revamped building enjoys much taller ceilings through the removal of a 1950’s mezzanine floor, allowing natural light to flood in from the new fully glazed Winter Garden and Canteen. The fully restored exterior walls now represent a building of quality including areas such as a computer training suite and a medical centre. Peeling back the layers of previous ad-hoc additions to the interior spaces has let the building breathe and allowed BGY to completely revise the flow and orientation of the building resulting in a more coherent and intuitive layout.
The renovation project also includes the upgrade of 16 self-contained apartments, a community garden, a gym, a music room, a conference facility, a women’s refuge centre and office space for The Passage charity to run from.
Prince William first visited The Passage in 1994 with younger brother Harry when the pair were 12 and 10, alongside their mother the late Princess Diana.
During his speech, the Prince said the initial visit had left a “deep and lasting” impression on him about the importance of the charity’s work. Thanking everyone involved in the refurbishment and the future of the charity, he pulled the cord to reveal the plaque.
Chetan Parmar, Managing Director, Parmarbrook, commented: “We’re very proud of the work we carried out to transform the Passage, and it’s an accolade to the entire design team that this work has been recognised by HRH The Duke of Cambridge during his visit. “
As a memento, William was presented with a framed photograph of his visit 22 years ago, where he is pictured alongside his brother and mother.
Ben Paterson, Project Director at Parmarbrook stated; “The passage was both a challenging and inspiring project to have collaborated on and a great success for all those involved. The project presented many technical challenges, associated with a city centre refurbishment of this scale and phasing due to the ongoing occupation of the building. All of these were overcome with our collaborative approach to design and delivery and great team work to keep the project on track..”
Now redeveloped, The Passage will provide London’s homeless with an enhanced physical surrounding and faster access to services, as well as better training and employment facilities.
Client: The Passage/Land Securities
Architects: Buckley Grey Yeoman
Civil & Structural Engineers: Parmarbrook
Building Services: Norman Disney & Young
Contractor/Fit Out: ISG