Archway Studios – a prototype built in an around a rail viaduct

Archway Studios is an odd building from multiple points of view. It’s located in Southwark, London, UK and it was built in and around a 19thC rail viaduct. It was a prototype project developed by Undercurrent Architects, a sort of live-workspace. The project was completed in 2012. The site is crossed by one of the Vistorian viaducts found all over London. These elements divide the neighborhoods and they present various challenges for the sites.

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This project aimed at adapting these structures to new uses. The Archway Studios was an innovative approach. It occupies part of the viaduct and it was built around it. It features a vaulted workshop and an atrium with residential areas. The design is very contrasting. On one hand we have the cavernous arch and the viaduct while on the other hand we have the slender and beautiful spaces from the atrium. The narrow plot was very challenging. The limited access to light and the views were major reasons of concern. But the architects managed to find solutions for all these problems.

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The exterior of this odd building features a ring of slender steel foils that form a protective acoustic shell. The daylight filters incorporated into the design bring light inside. Another major challenge was related to vibration and noise proofing. The solution was to isolate the building and to suspend it on a rubber foundation. To make the building blend into the industrial environment, the shell was made from weathered and worn materials.{found on archdaily}.