Dezeen Magazine

Private Crossrail station planned underneath Adjaye-designed London house

Photographer Ed Reeve has applied for planning consent to dig a private railway station underneath his home – the David Adjaye-designed Sunken House in north London.

Designed by Adjaye in 2003 and completed in 2007, Sunken House is located in De Beauvoir Town, directly above the future route for the Crossrail 2 train that is set to connect south-west and north-east London when it opens in 2030.

Concept diagram – click for larger image

Reeve plans to take advantage of this by building his own personal station, which will use ramped travellators to ensure he and his family can board and disembark a train without it needing to stop.

"I think the station could become a prototype for public-private initiatives in the capital's infrastructure," the photographer told Dezeen.

Section – click for larger image

Sunken House, known affectionately as Ed's Shed, is a partially submerged three-storey structure clad with dark-stained cedar. The lowest floor of the building is partially submerged, creating a sunken kitchen and dining room, and an adjoining home-office.

"We realised that by simply excavating the ground beneath the courtyard we could easily create our own access to the new Crossrail line," said Reeve.

Working with architectural designers Elizabeth MacLeod and Adriana Keast, Reeve has proposed connecting these spaces to a new lift shaft that will descend down to interchange level, directly above the north and south-bound railway tunnels.

Crossrail house by Ed Reeve

The proposal includes ramped travellators – moving walkways that will accelerate to the speed of passing trains to allow the family to board and avoid disruptions to the timetable due to unscheduled stops. The direction of the travellators will be reversed for disembarking.

Crossrail house by Ed Reeve

Reeve submitted his planning application to the London Borough of Hackney today, 1 April 2015. According to the photographer, construction works will not disrupt local residents.

Stations for Citizens (SfC), a newly formed pressure group, is backing the proposal. "Crossrail has a major influence on London's neighbourhoods and residents have a right to capitalise on the opportunity to shorten their commute," said SfC founder Roger Wilko.

Crossrail house by Ed Reeve

The project is located close to another example of subterranean architecture – the so-called Mole Man house, made famous when it was discovered that former resident William Lyttle had dug a warren of tunnels underneath. David Adjaye is currently working on the property's renovation.

Reporting by Peter Allison. Photography is by Ed Reeve.