A unique space nestled in the heart of London, Archway Studios is a live-workspace built in and around a 19th Century rail viaduct. Undercurrent Architects have created a design which works with an industrial, brown-field site which is located next to and underneath a train line. The challenge was to create a design which engaged with its surroundings whilst being suitable to live in whilst the train network ran directly next to it.
The distinctive design creates an unusual exterior appearance which makes the facade stand out even in its close proximity to its neighbours. The architects believe that as one of 10,000 arches that dissect neighbourhoods across London, it is a model that can be adapted for broad community benefit and regeneration.
The building takes the narrow and confined site conditions into the design and transforms it into an airy and spacious environment. The architects have described it as a hybrid building which uses part of the existing infrastructure with the addition of a new structure.
In addition to this the function is unique also as it is has a combined use of being a living and also studio space. With limited access to light, aspect and views the building introduces a new aspect by uplifting the space which offers a sense of room in spite of the extreme constraints.
Its unique shape helps to make the most of any daylight by creating cleverly-sculpted and placed openings which capture and consolidate daylight. As a result the light is focused from all directions and reach deep into the adjacent arch. In addition to this the facade has been designed in a concave shape which stretches perspectives, broadening the surrounding views and reducing the tight spatial limits.
One of the most challenging technical aspects was the sounds and vibrations created by the passing trains. Being next to a popular railway line the designers had to create a facade which also acts as an acoustic shell. In addition to this the architects focused on reusing materials by recycling and salvaging alongside using high tech insulation and glazing elements.