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Refuge Project.

This project was completed in my second year of studying interior architecture and design at Sheffield Hallam University.


The brief for this project was to design a refuge in the city of Sheffield based on the requirements of a particular building, the Green Room Bar. The project considers how people may find shelter within the city, a moment for pause, retreat, reflection or protection. It explores how a space encourages and transforms into a place through human occupancy and inhibition. The project is designed around a defined user and responds to the site and context. For this project the users are the caregivers of family members that have terminal illnesses, disabilities or cannot care for themselves. Whilst these family members are being taken care of by someone else in respite care, the caregivers will be able to visit and stay at the refuge to rest and take care of themselves.

Site Analysis

The site for this project was the Green Room Bar at 150-154 Devonshire Street, Sheffield, S37SG. The Green Room Bar is a prominent high street setting serving drinks and simple food in a lively all-day bar with an eclectic programme of live bands and DJ sets. 

To begin my analysis of the site I looked at the history of the surrounding area as well as the many businesses that the Green Room Bar has been over the years. This includes a Chinese restaurant, a cocktail bar and bistro, a bistro and then the Green Room Bar. 

I then looked into the demographic, transportation and the uses of the buildings around the area of the Green Room Bar. Following on from this I carried out sun studies looking at where the sun rises and sets in comparison to the Green Room Bar.

Existing Building

To further analyse the existing building I looked at the floorpans, sections, elevations and the interior schemes. I also created a site model to further analyse the existing building and the surrounding area. I did this at a scale of 1:500, this allowed me to further investigate the existing building.


To begin the development of my concept I identified who the user would be, I decided to create a space for the family members of people with long term or life threatening illnesses whilst they are at respite care. This allows the family members to take a break from caring, whilst the person they care for is looked after by someone else. The prevents the carer from becoming run down and exhausted. It also helps to prevent social isolation, relieve pressure and stress and creates a chance for the carer to tend to their own personal needs.

Also to start the development of my concept I created a physical collage of images that I thought represented the word ‘refuge’. I then selected my favourite images pairing each image with a word that I associate with creating a place of refuge.

Further Development of Concept

Continuing my concept I then started to look at precedent studies and take inspiration from these. I looked at the Eden Project in Cornwall where visitors can walk through the rainforest on different levels and across bridges exploring the nature from all views. The Eden Project is a good example of a space that is peaceful and tranquil, it is an escape and a shelter. This links back to the ideas of refuge that I started looking at, at the beginning of my conceptual development. By researching the Eden Project I started to propose the idea of creating a green house experience connecting on to the Green Room Bar. 

To develop the idea of a green house experience further I used the original site model that I made, and added green collage materials to it extending into the surrounding area of the Green Room Bar. I wanted the site model to achieve the concept of creating an experience including everything to do with nature similar to the Eden Project.

Following on from this site model I looked at creating a conceptual model to resemble the idea of the green house experience. I looked at how different materials such as acrylic, clingfilm and oyumaru resin allow for light to shine through them and onto the cress which resembles the nature within the experience I wanted to create.


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