Grand Designs UK

Grand Designs : ‘Great British Design Inspiration’.

Grand Designs visits Archway Studios ; interview with Kevin McCloud and Didier Ryan.


“The main episode follows a couple building a home constrained by its environment. However, they are still managing to build something beautiful and functional.

In the episode, the audience is taken to another brilliant & beautiful example of architecture thriving in its constrained environment achieved through exceptional design … enter Archway Studios.”

“We come to the Archway as an example of successful constrained architecture and would like to explore what that success looks like but also peel back the success and examine how and why it is a success and what you had to overcome to make it so.”

Didier Ryan:

“Foremost, this is an interesting and unusual house that makes you feel good.”

“The house is a sanctuary from tight, inner city life.  Its a secret space, hidden from the street, with a Narnia like quality of discovery. The entrance is through a confined, compressed passage which opens unexpectedly into a huge arch, and then beyond that, it opens a second time to an even bigger atrium – open to the clouds and sky.”

“The location was one of the most constrained sites you can imagine – it was dark, damp, noisy, vibrating and hemmed. However, the special quality of this building is that its not only about problem solving. Its success is that it transcends the constraints. It is something exceptional in its own right.”

Kevin McCloud:

“This is a house … underneath a railway … on a road. Its exactly the same conditions as Fritha and Olaf have to deal with … except its much more hardcore.”

KM: “If you didnt know it, this is a railway arch … Reimagined”
KM: “You went to extraordinary lengths to build this tranquil home”
KM: “The train is right there and I can’t hear a thing … How did you sound and vibration proof?”
DR: “The house is on a rubber foundation .. so the ground can vibrate without transmitting it inside”
DR: “We bring daylight from here and bounce it into the back of the arch”
DR: “Road noise is harder to attenuate than rail due to all the varied frequencies”
KM: “Its like a sort of light machine at the end of the building … divinely detached from its urban exterior”

C4 Screen Date: 6 September 2021

Episode title: S22 E02