From vacant parcels of land under highway overpasses to rooftop billboards, it would seem that even the most improbable nooks and crannies — you live where?! — doting overcrowded urban landscapes are being imagined as the perfect locales for micro-dwellings.

Now thanks to a new proposal from British firm CSRArchitects, the unused arches underneath London’s network of historic railway viaducts have been rendered ripe for residential repurposing.

As pointed out by Dean Nicholas at Londonist, in addition to providing temporary shelter to the homeless, the city’s glut of brick railway arches have previously been transformed into offices, boutiques, art galleries, and high-end eateries among other things. Commissioned by Polish “roof window” manufacturer FAKRO, the London Original Loft concept (or LOL, yes, LOL) would be the first proposal to envision these spaces as hip urban residences:

Railways set the path for urban regeneration in London. As a result there are nowadays hundreds of kilometers of railways built over red brick arcades. Many arches have been reused and adapted as small industries, shops and recently even office spaces.
LOL is a prefabricated construction system able to convert an empty railway arch in a cool residential loft. FAKRO skylight windows are used to provide a lot of daylight inside as well as improving the privacy. Lol will create a new living environment in a global city.

Prefabricated in various sizes as to ensure a perfect fit with any existing arcade dimension, the timber-clad façade/walls with upward-facing skylights in lieu of vertical windows would essentially be slotted into available archways, sealing the cozy bi-level loft space off like a cave. And as mentioned by CSRArchitects, the roof windows do provide a decent amount of privacy but it appears that there’s nary a front door depicted in this first round of renderings. How will Londoners access their trendy railway arch abodes? And will the LOL concept only apply to decommissioned elevated railways? Because I can see a potential noise issue with this otherwise intriguing concept that frees up available living space in the increasingly cramped British capital.

Via [Londonist], [Designboom]

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Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Railway arch-repurposing housing scheme in London nothing to laugh at
Despite the unfortunate acronym, the London Original Loft (LOL) proposal cleverly repurposes unused railway viaduct arches into cave-like residences.