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Architect Turns A Giant Smile Into A Public Exhibition

Architect Turns A Giant Smile Into A Public Exhibition
Europe

The structure offers visitors a new perspective of London and creates an immersive environment that integrates structure, surface, space and light

Marielle Castillo
  • 29 september 2016

For the 2016 London Design Festival, architect Alison Brooks created The Smile, an urban pavilion in the shape of a high upside down arc. Supported by the American Hardwood Export Council and made in partnership with the University of the Arts London, the 34-meter-long structure takes the shape of a giant smile, and was created with 12 panels of cross-laminated timber (CLT).

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The four-sided piece curves upward to its two open ends, allowing light to shine through and across its curved floor. Visitors are invited to enter the structure through a door positioned halfway its length. Once inside, they can walk up in either direction towards viewing balconies located in the two raised ends.

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Perforations in the walls bring in sunlight and at night, when the interior is lit up, the pavilion turns into a giant lantern. To prevent it from rocking, the piece is anchored to a wooden cradle filled with 20 tons of steel counterweights.

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The entire complex structure is free of the conventions of inhabitable architecture and pushes the limits of what’s possible. It also demonstrates that hardwood CLT can perform as a structural material and that it can change the face of construction.

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The Smile is located at the Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground at Chelsea College of Art in southwest London, and will be on show until October 12, 2016.

The Smile

+2016 London Design Festival
+American Hardwood Export Council
+Design
+Europe
+exhibition
+hardwood CLT
+london
+urban pavilion
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