Recycling Tube Cars into Work Spaces

With nearly 140 years of providing safe, reliable and affordable public transportation, London's famed "Tube" metropolitan railway system has likely kept a lot of cars off of the city's streets, and prevented many tons of emissions from polluting its air. Now that several of the major lines are undergoing renovation, a new charitable group, Village Underground, has launched an effort in partnership with Tube Lines, the company upgrading the system, to create an even greater environmental impact for the trains: recycling discarded Tube carriages into work spaces for start-up creative firms. According to a Tube Lines press release from August 3rd:

Typically carriages which no longer serve the travelling public are taken to pieces, the metals separated and the various parts disposed of, some into landfill. In the past there has been little demand for reusing them by converting them into unusual work or play spaces but Tom Foxcroft, who has set up Village Underground and approached Tube Lines about recycling carriages, has identified a use which benefits the environment and community.

Tom Foxcroft, Director at Village Underground, said:

"The idea came from my own experience as a designer trying to start a small practice with friends — we just couldn't get a foot on the ladder because of the price of studio and workspace .so I designed my own."

Foxcroft hasn't stopped with the idea of merely reusing subway cars, though: he's also leased a vacant arch, and 4000 square feet of warehouse space, both in Shoreditch, and plans to create an "office park" of the renovated carriages, and "a multi-functional art, music and cultural centre" in the Victorian-era warehouse. The project is being funded by the London Rebuilding Society, an organization that lends money to social enterprises, and will also feature green design with sustainable building materials, a carbon-neutral heating and cooling system, and a green roof with an outdoor cinema and concert space.

The refurbished Tube carriages were scheduled for delivery to Shoreditch on August 13th. So far, the press has kept quiet on this, but we'll keep an eye out for news on this innovative Treehugging project. ::Tube Lines via WorldChanging

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