Arch-within-arch is a telescopic, mobile building system for inhabitable infrastructure
In 2013, Undercurrent Architects won ‘House of the Year’ at the New London Architecture Awards for a house below a live train line.
This was due in part to the extreme environmental and technical challenges the project overcame, and in part as an exemplar – opening vast swathes of previously un-developable inner city land (with over 10,000 arches in London alone).
Subsequently, we worked on developing a universal solution: a telescopic Arch-within-Arch (GB1610384.8). This provides a template for transforming the toughest of site conditions – noisy, vibrating, wet, dark, and poorly ventilated railway arches – into viable and attractive buildings.
Technical challenges included managing noise from overhead railway lines less than 2 metres away – in addition to vibration generated by 265 tonne trains passing frequently overhead. As a result, specialised acoustic insulation was developed using straw and rubber, combined with vibration cushions to float the entire building off the ground.
To naturally illuminate the dark, cavernous arches, solar reflective foils align with solar paths to collect, bounce and amplify daylight. This is combined with asymmetric glazing to maximise the amount of daylight captured, while still achieving superior acoustic performance.
A mobile, telescopic shell structure was developed that could be prefabricated and readily installed as prefinished sections. This entailed the unusual use of lightweight construction for acoustic dampening, and an innovative combination of straw and rubber to achieve desired noise proofing with low mass materials.
Arch-within-arch is a telescopic, mobile building system for inhabitable infrastructure.
Undercurrent Architects : Didier Ryan, Tao Gatto, Yoko Chang
Munro Acoustics : Phil Pyatt