Marstons Hub shortlisted for RIBA West Midlands Award
Everyone deserves a safe, secure, comfortable place to call home. Not just now, in the middle of this crisis, but always. Marstons Hub demonstrates why we are right behind the National Housing Federation's #HomesAtTheHeart campaign – calling on the UK Government to put social housing at the centre of recovery.
Marstons Hub, home of our Ludlow Foyer youth service and Grain Loft supported accommodation, has been shortlisted for this year’s Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) West Midlands Award. Marstons Hub, designed by the award-winning K4 Architects, is among 11 projects shortlisted by judges, with the winner of the West Midlands Regional Award will then be considered for the prestigious RIBA National Award, whose previous winners have included Tate Modern’s Blatvanik Building and the London Eye.
Located in the heart of historic Ludlow, Marstons Hub contains 11 new build homes (including 3 fully accessible units) and 13 refurbished homes for the Ludlow Foyer within the mill. The Grain Loft extension is clad with natural copper shingles on its walls and roof, with its glazed gable and window designs referencing the historic mill building. And, with long-term sustainability in mind, this innovative construction also makes the extension’s exterior envelope 100% recyclable.
The Grain Loft extension offers a vital new service to the border counties: supported accommodation for those either needing a stepping stone towards fully independent living or younger people needing extra support with more firm foundations to set out their careers and further accommodation needs. The Grain Loft will not only help residents but also help to relieve some of the stress that carers can often experience – particularly important after the UK’s lockdown period.
Marstons Hub has an open-door policy and welcomes all people, with residents coming from a diverse range of ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. Some are marginalised or estranged from their families, some may present with mental health or drug dependency issues, and some may have experienced homelessness in the past. Key workers at the Hub can provide referrals and offer support for all of these issues.
The ground floor of the mill building contains commercially-owned The Granary Cafe, who have generously committed to taking on residents from the Hub to provide work experience. These community links and positive effect on the local community also lead to a nomination for the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors Social Impact Award, West Midlands.
Poor-quality or unstable accommodation can have a seriously negative impact on mental health and, in turn, a recent NHS study found that people with mental health conditions are four times as likely to be unhappy with their housing. Indeed, the same study found that 45% of homeless people present with mental health or drug dependency issues.
Our services at Marstons Hub are more than simple accommodation: they provide a safe space and that vital first step towards independence. The scheme is the perfect local example of how decent homes can set firm foundations for a better quality of life, in turn benefitting the local economy, services and community.