On a decrepit industrial site next to a Victorian railway viaduct in London, Undercurrent Architects imagined something truly extraordinary. Built in and around a railway viaduct they have created an uplifting live-work space that is manifest in the form of a fluid industrial secretion. An ooze of grease from a giant industrial machine perhaps.
The building seems as a gut response to the intense Victorian industrial heritage of the site. The dense overcrowding of those times appears to be a cue to literally squeeze habitable space from the site, almost accepting the resulting form as a consequence of the process. If that is the suggestion of course, it is an illusion. The building is pure artifice.
Site conditions were tight, with a narrow plot, limited access to light and views, and the railway as a source of noise and vibration.
At the heart of the living quarters is a double volume space with accommodation flowing off it. This space is top lit and is flooded with light. Lacerations in the side walls provide other glazing slots with a fully glazed end wall providing light in abundance.
The structure itself is also very interesting. Steel semi-monocoque elements were fabricated off site, more in the spirit of a ship than a building. The photos here, provided by the architect, give an interesting insight into the fabrication process.