Archway Studios: the prototype live-workspace in London

Undercurrent and Eckersley O'Callaghan reshape a disused railway viaduct

by Malcolm Clark
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Archway Studios is a prototype live-workspace built in and around a 19th Century rail viaduct. Undercurrent Architects and Eckersley O'Callaghan have worked with the constraints of an inner-city industrial site next to a train line, and have had to overcome the challenges of a fortified design that engages its surroundings.

The city of London is crossed by a series of Victorian viaducts, which create corridors of conflict, compounded by industrial use of the viaduct arches. As a result of de-industrialization, there are many of these central “brownfield” areas and this prototype intends to give new answer and a new application to this type of structure.

Indeed, Archway Studios occupies part of the viaduct, a vaulted workshop linked to an atrium with residential alcoves. The design works with the contrast between the compressed, cavernous qualities of the arch and the slender, church-like spaces of the atrium and alcoves.

A ring of slender steel foils mould the narrow site, forming a protective acoustic shell cupped around interior spaces. Daylight filters into the building through slits in the segmented foils, acting to scoop light into the deep recesses of the arch.

    Archway Studios 31

    Archway Studios

    London / United Kingdom / 2012