The Refugees and Befriending Project brings vulnerable young people together who have crossed borders to get to the UK. Once a week they gather together, with British Red Cross volunteers and staff, to cook and eat a meal together. Currently the project operates from an office space with a rice cooker and a steamer, but not for long.
In response to the RIBA’s Beyond Borders design competition, Merrett Houmøller Architects’s winning proposal will provide a mobile base for the Refugees and Befriending project.
Robert Houmøller, one of the architects involved, commented, “Concerning appliances for the Befriending Kitchen, the main idea was to keep costs down, given the nature of our client. We got creative with a sink from Ikea and a cast iron camping gas hob. The structure is steel and WBP ply, painted with a weatherproof paint.”
“The colourful graphic exterior has been developed with volunteers from the RIBA Young People’s Forum. Playing with the idea of language and universal familiarity, the design for the external graphic is inspired by the international system of nautical signal flags, originally devised to overcome language barriers.”
“In terms of detailing, the biggest issue was to keep water out. The horizontal cuts of the doors are at 45º so that water doesn’t sit on top. Also, it all has to be packed away so is designed to be as compact as possible.”
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