In 1986 a group of entrepreneurs led by sound engineer Carey Taylor followed a calling to build a new state of the art recording studio.
With Gary Langan and Karen Clayton, this small group of investors found a potential space for the studio in West London and invited a group of architects to submit initial designs for its conversion.
The chosen space was a part of an enormous power station built originally in 1901 to power the first stretch of tramway in West London. It was designed by a young William Curtis Green. The tramway was only viable for a few years and the buildings soon became redundant. The outer sheds eventually were re-developed as a bus station, an the main power house fell into disrepair.
In 1984 Powell Tuck Associates came up with a notion of a sandwich structure with studios being the outer layers and the plant, cafe, bar and recreational areas the filling. This way the studio layers were separated to allow the required acoustic isolation and service space. The new structure maximised the use of daylight available from the two huge west-facing windows retaining the sense of drama and scale of the original turbine hall.
In the 1980s, Recording Studios were beginning to be used differently as more and more of the process was taking place in the control room rather than the studio space itself. The big idea at Metropolis was to make the control room the focus of each studio, which was the historical precedent.
Studio A was originally designed to house a vast curved mixing console – the Focusrite Studio Console. Tall acoustically tuned studios were wrapped around the control room. Associated private recreational accommodation for the bands looked onto the studio from above the control room. The studios linings were designed to accommodate acoustic trapping, lighting and ventilation and were sculpted to enhance the room’s acoustics. Each studio was glazed to the atrium to claim a share of the daylight given from the two main atrium windows.
Extracts taken from “After Metropolis”, the architecture and design of Powell Tuck Associates.
Today Metropolis Studios…
Today, Metropolis Studios is a thriving hub of creativity, acquired in 2012 by Kainne Clements who is still the executive chairman. In the same year, Kainne also took on the Academy Of Contemporary Music (ACM) where generations of musicians and music business executives have been educated. He runs the two businesses in tandem and Metropolis are very proud to acknowledge that it is the only studio in the world affiliated to a very successful and fast evolving academy for music education.