Architects design a transition center for homeless youth.

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Today’s youth makes tomorrow safer!

Young people are considered the driving force behind a country’s economy. Their position is exaggerated as they represent business owners and leaders of the future to come. But their position in society is misrepresented as many of them struggle to make ends meet in their presence. For them, the future remains uncertain. Homelessness is increasing in almost every city in the world. Various population groups face this problem for a variety of reasons, from inflation and economic problems to resource scarcity. The demand for affordable housing has risen sharply in recent decades.

Homeless youth are a big problem in industrialized countries. This community is particularly vulnerable due to the lack of stability, support and guidance at this age. They face unique challenges when transitioning from one housing system to another.

How can we create a stable home for the unguarded youth in dense cities?

Homelessness is a condition imposed on youth due to collective socioeconomic reasons and diverse personal circumstances. The state of helplessness can have a profound impact on the psyche of any young person. There are several issues that can drive young people into homelessness. Any kind of abuse (physical, mental, sexual, narcotic), unemployment or general exclusion due to disability or sexual orientation. As they take to the streets and into society to escape the danger they fear at home, they face new urban threats. In addition to the pressure to make it on their own, they are vulnerable to crime, harassment, mental depression, or trauma from past experiences that make life difficult for them. Unemployment in particular would be a problem for young people due to a lack of education, skills or access to job opportunities.

Will a housing solution be enough to empower vulnerable young people?

The competition was to design a transition center for homeless youth with shelters and other facilities that would equip them with skills for independent living.

It is designed to provide a range of services to young people from different backgrounds to help provide them with a safe, stable and inclusive home. It must also act as a learning center to help them acquire life skills, special skills and build networks. The welfare of young people is paramount. Homeless people often face prejudice in society, so it is necessary that the design of the center is in harmony with the neighboring context. Spatial design must be flexible, low-maintenance, and economical to host multiple users for short periods of time. It is not inhabited for more than 1 year.

The aim is to create a healthy community for young people. Privacy and interaction must be guided in the layout according to the type of activity. Aesthetics and functionality must be balanced to create a mix of open and closed spaces.

The competition jury consisted of distinguished designers, professionals and academics from around the world. The main judges for the competitions were as follows:

Pooya Baktash, Co-founder, PARTISANS, Canada

Guillaume Fafard, Architect, Quinzhee Architecture, Canada

Some of the best competition projects are as follows:

winning project: The house on the porch

By: Kaja Lewandowska

Description: The greatest challenge in designing a youth transition center is to create not just a model that can be placed anywhere in the world, but a building that both suits the site and is an image/dream of a home.

Jury comment: Courtyard +++

People’s Choice: Toronto homeless youth center

By: Patrycja Koska

Description: The idea behind the project was to create a safe center for homeless youth where they can prepare to start an independent life. The place offers psychological support, care and help with starting a career. It is suitable for holding classes and professional workshops. Young people can get the support of career advisors.

People’s Choice: honey home

By: dx s, qilin cui, MA JC & haiyong liang

Description: A haven for vulnerable teenagers.

Detailed entries can be found here.

UNIVERSITY brings together the world’s largest pool of design challenges curated by the best architecture academics and professionals worldwide. With over 200,000 registered members, UNI connects the academic and professional fields of architecture through a unique web platform for knowledge sharing.

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