There are millions of homeless people around the world who have to stay in make-shift facilities that lack the three most basic aspects of living – safety, security and community. To reduce the fundamental hardships experienced by homeless people in Chicago, architects Eric Hoffman, Travis Kalina and Katie LaCourt have designed the ZEF Side Homeless Shelter that addresses these issues.
The concept shelter acts as a catalyst towards removing the stigma associated with homelessness by providing an eco friendly and respectable place for those in need. The building’s glowing glass façade lifts off the ground position and protrudes itself against the famous Chicago skyline. With a green roof, where residents and visitors can enjoy a stroll while being connected to the city around them, the shelter also incorporates a courtyard that establishes itself as a building typology.
The building lifts up from the ground at one end and reveals a sunken courtyard that also acts as a noise buffer for those inside. Apart from providing shade in the hot summer months, the courtyard improves the unwelcoming nature of existing shelters where many people are forced to wait on the streets. The ZEF Side Shelter acknowledges these issues by allowing those in need into the courtyard’s embrace, suggesting being inside the building, without actually entering the premises.