A newly listed conceptual home in Southwark, London, is not only off the beaten track—it’s under it.
The industrial-looking house wrapped in rust-patinated steel is built into an archway that supports live train rails ferrying commuters daily between central London and the city’s neighboring counties. The unusual residence, which won a London Architecture Award for the Best House of 2013, hit the market this month for £1.085 million (US$1.423 million).
Passersby could easily mistake the front door for a service entrance to the railway above. Rather, the house, known as Archway Studios, leads into the airy great room of a 1,600-square-foot, two-bedroom home that protrudes from the western side of the Victorian-era train tracks.
“It’s a tough spot when you have a dark, dingy, damp and noisey railway to actually overcome those constraints and build something that exceeds those constraints,” the home’s architect, Didier Ryan, principal of Undercurrent Architects, told Mansion Global.
The architects mirrored the rough, corroded look of the tracks with a narrow metal exterior and gathered design inspiration from illustrations of England’s industrial past.
But it is no Dickensian lifestyle inside, images of the home show.
Glass windows wrap the roof and south exterior wall, filling a three-story atrium and the great room below with light. The gallery-like living space has an open kitchen at one end and a small mezzanine floor with a wall of built-in bookshelves at the other.
A spiral staircase leads to the second-floor landing, where there’s a second bedroom and bathroom. The third—and top floor—serves as an office flooded with light on all sides.
Courtesy of Undercurrent Architects
The steel facade, insulation made from straw and rubber, and vibration cushions limit noise from the passing trains to what Mr. Ryan described as a “hum.”
“It’s not distractive,” he said, adding that there are more than 10,000 such archways that make up the train viaducts crisscrossing London.
The home was originally designed for a photographer to use as a live-work space, though it has transformed over time to become more of a family residence, Mr. Ryan said.
It hit the market on July 5 with brokerage The Modern House, which specializes in contemporary homes.