A lightweight modular timber frame adaptation of shopping centre typologies
City Arcade proposes a new typology of homes for displaced and vulnerable women and their families. It also offers a light-touch way to revitalise and repurpose dwindling town centre shopping areas. City Arcade is the name of a post-war shopping centre in Coventry city centre. Made up of small retail units flanking a central arcade with a rooftop carpark, it is a shopping typology ubiquitous across the UK.
The proposal is developed in collaboration with Three Spires Family Support Trust who run Coffee Tots in City Arcade to support local women and families. However, the Trust itself is facing eviction to make way for the Coventry South redevelopment. This proposal is an alternative to the current masterplan – offering a vision rooted in existing buildings and communities.
In a city centre designed for the 'age of the motorcar', City Arcade looks to a more sustainable future, reclaiming multistorey and rooftop carparks and reimagining large site areas with generous structural capacity in central locations.
Discreet emergency temporary accommodation and longer-term family homes are provided alongside shared safe spaces for live, work and play. The lightweight modular timber frame can be configured to create different home sizes and layouts while enabling easy future adaptation and extension.
City Arcade’s living spaces are designed on a gradient from private to public, promoting opportunities for employment and independent enterprise through proximity to existing businesses and empty units to nurture start-ups – empowering women and their families to recover and rebuild following displacement.
Joanne Preston, Urban Designer
Claire Taggart, Architect
Adele Reed, Artist, Photographer
Negin Ghorbani, Passivhaus Designer, Retrofit Officer and Architect
Coffee Tots, Three Spires Family Support Trust, Family Support Charity