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Constructing Hope: The story behind an award-winning rehabilitation facility

When we started working on the Hope Street project in 2021, we knew this innovative women’s rehabilitation residence was a ground-breaking concept.  But little did we anticipate that this remarkable project would make headlines for its social impact and exemplary design nearly a year after its completion.

Widespread acclaim for its pioneering social impact

Since the official opening in June 2023 by Catherine, The Princess of Wales, Hope Street has gained significant coverage across major media outlets, including BBC News, the Guardian and in publications such as Positive News, where it was used as an example of trauma-informed design.

It is also gaining increased recognition within the built environment, having recently been shortlisted as a finalist in the 2024 Civic Trust Awards and, more recently, named winner of the prestigious 2024 RIBA MacEwen Award, which celebrates projects that have delivered Architecture for the Common Good.  

Why is Hope Street so special?

Located in Southampton, Hope Street has captured public attention for its innovative concept of providing safe accommodation and support for women and their children in the justice system.  This ambitious alternative to custody allows mothers and children to live together in a safe, nurturing environment as they serve the remainder of their sentence.

The facility is the brainchild of One Small Thing founder Lady Edwina Grosvenor, a philanthropist and prison reform advocate.  Designed by Snug Architects, Hope Street features 15 self-contained flats centred around an internal landscaped courtyard with shared amenities.  The building offers residents a warm, welcoming home with a sympathetic design focused on rehabilitation, family bonds and community.

Snug Architects’ collaborative design approach drew on input from women involved in the justice system to create a trauma-informed environment that considers residents’ potential triggers and sensitivities.  These insights have helped to shape the facility’s impactful and uplifting design details like plentiful natural light, warm materials and living walls. At the same time, the outside sensory gardens and private outdoor courtyard provide a sense of freedom.

Delivering an innovative vision with care

As the main contractor on the project, Chisholm & Winch worked collaboratively with One Small Thing, Snug Architects and the design teams to deliver value throughout the project’s construction. One Small Thing is an independent charity, so Hope Street is funded through private donations and fundraising, which meant the build had to be kept within the charity’s budget.

Our team provided crucial value engineering, identifying cost and time efficiencies through continuous stakeholder collaboration. This included working closely with all parties and our supply chain, to source more cost-effective alternatives without compromising aesthetics or quality. Simple adjustments such as changing stone kitchen worktops to laminate worktops, replacing oak doors and frames with softwood, replacing oak reveal linings with drylining and decorating, and sourcing off-the-shelf solutions instead of using bespoke joinery for furniture items, helped to deliver significant cost savings.

A lasting legacy of Hope

The widespread recognition that Hope Street has gained is a testament to the vision and collaboration of all partners involved. As the main contractor entrusted to deliver this pioneering concept, we are proud to have played our part building a nurturing community that will continue transforming lives for years to come.