The Vagabond Hotel

The Vagabond Hotel

Sarah Steenson

 At present, there is a common theme emerging of tragic stories of the refugees and migrants from Syria trying to reach Europe. What if, in the near future, European governments were to cut into the smuggling trade by transporting the refugees themselves, and whilst doing so, tackle the problem of this fragmented experience?

This project therefore explores a new approach towards forced displacement, and how a hotel can bridge the fragmented experience of a refugee, living in an itinerant existence, or a ‘between-ness.’ The hotel is not placed at the origin of the refugee, the dystopia, or their destination, the perceived utopia, but rather the in-between space. This in-between space, or non-place, is a statement that is shaped by Foucault’s first principle on heterotopias; a heterotopia of deviation, reserved for people who are in a state of crisis in relation to society. As the hotel becomes a space where two realities collide, it illustrates a spatial metaphor for the contemporary theory of cultural hybridity explored by Bhabha. In short, it is an attempt to spatialise the liminal poison that cultural hybridity represents, giving a tangibility to the in-between space where hybridisation occurs.


This hotel prototype has not been designed as a ‘quick fix’ to the growing problems that our society is facing, but rather as an initial step in facilitating a process that overcomes the fragmented experience of a present day refugee. The main aim of the hotel is to unconsciously propel society forward through facilitating those who do not fit within societies mainstream.


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