An Astounding Steel-Clad Home Under a Railway Viaduct in London Asks $1.4M

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By Michele Koh Morollo
An award-winning live/work space that currently holds a family residence and photography studio defies the constraints of the site.

Built into and around a 19th-century railway viaduct in Southeast London, Archway Studios is a spectacular, steel-clad, live/work space spanning 1,600 square feet. Offered at £1,085,000 (approximately $1,436,000) through The Modern House, the property designed by British practice Undercurrent Architects.

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Elevated Victorian viaducts cut through many of London’s residential areas, often becoming physical barriers, with derelict, arched corridors at ground level.

Elevated Victorian viaducts cut through many of London’s residential areas, often becoming physical barriers, with derelict, arched corridors at ground level.

Ingeniously constructed with an exterior of slim, steel foils that form a protective, acoustic shell around the entire house, Archway Studios presently combines a family residence and a photography studio.

Ingeniously constructed with an exterior of slim, steel foils that form a protective, acoustic shell around the entire house, Archway Studios presently combines a family residence and a photography studio.

The common areas are located at different levels beneath a three-story atrium.

The common areas are located at different levels beneath a three-story atrium.

"Archway Studios occupies part of a rail viaduct; a vaulted workshop linked to an atrium with residential alcoves," says Undercurrent principal architect, Didier Ryan. "The design works with the contrast between the compressed, cavernous qualities of the arch—and the slender, ecclesial spaces of the atrium."

"Archway Studios occupies part of a rail viaduct; a vaulted workshop linked to an atrium with residential alcoves," says Undercurrent principal architect, Didier Ryan. "The design works with the contrast between the compressed, cavernous qualities of the arch—and the slender, ecclesial spaces of the atrium."

Though the site is narrow with limited sunlight exposure, aspects, and views, these conditions were overcome with the creation of lofty, skylit interiors that free the building from the constraints of its location.  

Though the site is narrow with limited sunlight exposure, aspects, and views, these conditions were overcome with the creation of lofty, skylit interiors that free the building from the constraints of its location.  

This atrium connects to private rooms, including two bedrooms, a study, and two bathrooms. 

This atrium connects to private rooms, including two bedrooms, a study, and two bathrooms. 

The property is located near Kennington and Burgess park, within walking distance to Kennington and Elephant and Castle Metro stations, and close to many new restaurants, cafes, and bars.  

The property is located near Kennington and Burgess park, within walking distance to Kennington and Elephant and Castle Metro stations, and close to many new restaurants, cafes, and bars.  

The ring of Cor-Ten steel foil that wraps around the narrow site cups the interior spaces.

The ring of Cor-Ten steel foil that wraps around the narrow site cups the interior spaces.

Within the building’s coppery, industrial, steel facade are expansive, contoured interiors with light floors and brilliant, white walls.

Within the building’s coppery, industrial, steel facade are expansive, contoured interiors with light floors and brilliant, white walls.

A spiral staircase leads up to the private rooms.

A spiral staircase leads up to the private rooms.

Billowing up and out above the viaduct, the slender atrium weaves its way up a flowing system of curves that scoop and pull in natural light from the upper levels down to the living areas below.

Billowing up and out above the viaduct, the slender atrium weaves its way up a flowing system of curves that scoop and pull in natural light from the upper levels down to the living areas below.

The steel exteriors ensure that the open-plan common areas and bedrooms are shielded from the noise from the railway above.

The steel exteriors ensure that the open-plan common areas and bedrooms are shielded from the noise from the railway above.

Through slits in the segmented foils, the facade draws daylight deep into the recesses of the arched living areas.

Through slits in the segmented foils, the facade draws daylight deep into the recesses of the arched living areas.

"The building’s unique design and appearance helps it to stand out even when dwarfed by inner-city neighbors," says Ryan. "As one of 10,000 arches that dissect neighborhoods across London, it is a model that can be adapted for broad community benefit."

"The building’s unique design and appearance helps it to stand out even when dwarfed by inner-city neighbors," says Ryan. "As one of 10,000 arches that dissect neighborhoods across London, it is a model that can be adapted for broad community benefit."

For more information, contact The Modern House.

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