Look inside London’s subterranean funhouse, The House of Vans

Architecture, International
Thursday, August 28, 2014
The skate park. (Courtesy House of Vans.)

The skate park. (Courtesy House of Vans.)

The house that Vans built is 30,000 square feet, cavernous, and deep underneath London. The iconic shoe and clothes retailer recently transformed the Old Vic Tunnels beneath Waterloo Station into “The House of Vans”—a multi-level, subterranean cultural venue complete with galleries, artist studios, a café, two bars, an 85-person music venue, a 160-person cinema, and, of course, a skate park.

The music venue. (Courtesy House of Vans.)

The music venue. (Courtesy House of Vans.)

The space, which was designed by London-based design firm Hellicar & Lewis, had been used as an arts venue from 2009 to 2013. “The space is ready for both work and play; with a wide range of educational & learning activities on offer,” said Vans in a statement on the venue’s website. “Not forgetting, our cultural and sporting events that are attracting the best talent from across the globe…from skateboarding and beyond.” The venue is open five days a week and will host live events on the weekends.

The project brings to mind elements of New York City’s own proposed subterranean playground, The Lowline, which continues its efforts to repurpose tunnels under the Lower East Side. The House of Vans London is actually the company’s second outpost, the first House of Vans is in, predictably, a former warehouse in Brooklyn. This is where you would probably expect a reference to the HBO show “Girls,” but let’s just call it here.

[h/t Creative Review UK]

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