Repurposed Railway Arches Become Affordable Workspaces

London firm Boano Prišmontas developed a modular structure for a project that repurposed railway arches and can be used in other marginal spaces in the city to create temporary affordable workspaces.

The project is a create a kit of parts that can be assembled and employed in any underused or disused urban space to quickly provide affordable workspace for local businesses and start-ups.

Repurposed Railway Arches Become Affordable Workspaces
Behind the Blue Doors: Repurposed Railway Arches Become Affordable Workspaces

It is the winning entry of the “Arches Challenge Competition”, launched In 2017 by Meanwhile Space and supported by Lambeth Council and the Mayor of London.

The design is flexible to suit different arch shapes, making it an attractive choice to deal with an array of difficult arches and undercrofts. The design is fully demountable, can be compactly stored (20 kit of parts could be stored in a single arch) and be moved to another location should the landlord require the arch back for further redevelopment. Once all the CNC cut timber, polycarbonate facades and insulation are on site, the construction of an arch can be completed in 2 weeks making it quick and cost effective to redeploy.

As the firm says on their website:

Boano Prišmontas designed a digitally fabricated structural system which adopts dry-joint techniques to infill and make use of a wide range of abandoned pocket spaces, such as railway arches, undercrofts and multi storey car parks. The project’s value lies in its nomadic, temporary and sustainable approach. Boano Prišmontas and Meanwhile Space seek to work in synergy with developers and councils for short and mid-term urban regeneration strategies that support the quick creation of affordable workspace for local businesses and startups.

The design proposed by Boano Prismontas was chosen as it is freestanding, provides a secure space internally, creates a warm and dry space, it is self-buildable, repeatable and cost effective. The structural system is a plug-in space, a room-within-a-room that is built by replicating its modules as much as possible to infill the vault of the arches.

Reprogramming the City has featured other repurposed railway arches projects and new uses for railway infrastructure – even tunnels. The underused (and often disused) spaces provide an exceptional opportunity to leverage and utilize urban infrastructure for more beneficial uses.

If repurposing urban structures and objects for additional use is of interest, you’ll love Reprogramming the City publications: