The Railway Building

Tags: commercial, stone, surprise, new build

Related projects: Hackney Arts Centre


As part of a larger master-plan, this mixed-use leisure building sits on an island site, sandwiched between a railway track and the residential development that it services. The railway track itself provided inspiration for the material palette of cast iron and stone, two materials which offer a climatically superior alternatives to steel and concrete.

The proposal has a communal central entrance to a single internal core comprising a long staircase and optimised services to keep its width to a minimum on this narrow footprint. Each level has an open floor plan to accommodate flexible layouts for different tenants. In order to maintain a two metre clear zone between the building and the railway, a cleaning gantry was designed into the facade on the railway side.

The form of the building follows the typology of the neighbouring residential buildings with light ground floors and heavier upper floors. This is achieved through stone beams and columns at upper levels that bear onto stone and cast iron fink trusses, transferring the load of the building onto slender cast iron columns at ground level. Cast iron connectors that join the stone beams and columns double up as supports to allow the stone members to cantilever vertically and maintain a two metre clear zone during the construction of this load-bearing facade.