Dulwich Pavilion

IF_DO and StructureMode for Dulwich Picture Gallery, London

We were approached by IF_DO architects and structural engineers StructureMode to fabricate After Image, their winning design for the inaugural Dulwich Pavilion. Working in collaboration we developed a fabrication methodology and material specifications to help accomplish this ambitious project. Our team realised construction of the pavilion, from fabrication design to completion, within just 10 weeks.

 

2017 'Small Architecture' Design of the Year Winner

 
 

We began by modelling the structure in CAD. This process allowed a dynamic design process to unfold between our team, the architects and the structural engineers. An initial period of problem solving and re-modelling facilitated our development of a construction design that kept the build within budget. A detailed topography of the site was incorporated into the CAD model to produce accurate calculations that made it possible to pre-fabricate the structural columns and set the finished height of the deck without breaking ground. 

Developing the fabrication methodology

 

This ambitious project demanded a resourceful and methodical approach to making. Due to the limited build time, and sensitive site location at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, it was necessary to fabricate as much as possible in off-site. Sixteen 3-metre tall steel frames, 250 square-metres of timber deck, and the full roof structure were all assembled at our studio in advance of the main build. 

Structural steel frames welded to 0.5mm tolerance by our specialist metal fabricators

The timber arrives at the studio before pre-fabrication works begin

The pavilion was engineered by StructureMode to ensure minimal environmental impact to the historic grounds, including the use of removable ground screws. Once these were set two structural columns were erected, followed by the surrounding timber deck. At this stage, a 3.5-metre scaffold crash deck was installed to allow works on the roof to be undertaken at height in a safe and efficient manner.

 

Once the crash deck was removed, works resumed at ground level. The structural columns and fourteen moveable panels were clad in 135 sheets of mirror polished Alupanel. Waterjet cut steel plates were inset into the deck to allow the panels to be reconfigured in a number of different spatial iterations. This flexible system was designed in close collaboration with IF_DO and StructureMode, fulfilling one of the key visions from the architect’s original proposal.  

Watch this short film by Joe Almond, which captures the final stages of the on-site build

Constructing the Pavilion Bar on-site

In addition to the construction of the main 250 square-metre structure, the team also designed and fabricated the Pavilion Bar. A bespoke plywood carcass was mounted on wheels and mirror clad in keeping with IF_DO’s pavilion design. The Dulwich Pavilion was the centrepiece of the London Festival of Architecture 2017, hosting a programme of public events throughout the summer.

LED strip lighting, installed around the perimeter of the roof, transforms the pavilion after darkness falls. Image: Agnese Sanvito

LED strip lighting, installed around the perimeter of the roof, transforms the pavilion after darkness falls. Image: Agnese Sanvito