Tuesday, October 04, 2016

London Design Festival 2016: Alison Brooks Architects - Landmark Project - The Smile


London Design Festival 2016:  Alison Brooks Architects - Landmark Project - The Smile. The Smile by Alison Brooks Architects, in partnership with the American Hardwood Export Council and ARUP, is an urban installation a spectacular pavilion, 34 m long, that takes the shape of a Smile. It showcases the structural and spatial potential of cross-laminated hardwood using American tulipwood. The structure is open until October 12, to be explored by the public, offering a new way of viewing its surrounding environment at Chelsea College of Art and Design, in the background, and overlooking Tate Britain.

“A small building that performs big miracles by demonstrating how hardwood CLT - cross-laminated timber - can perform as a structural material.”
Alison Brooks

Architect Alison Brooks and Ben Evans director of the London Design Festival

Alison Brooks Architects - Landmark Project - The Smile

The Smile is a four sided curved tube that curves upward to its two open ends, allowing light to wash across its curved floor like water across a spillway. Hovering 3m above the ground, its two ends are viewing platforms that take in the sky and reach out to neighboring buildings. Made entirely of tulipwood, and a segment of a 100m diameter circle, the Smile creates an immersive environment that integrates structure, surface, space and light.


 “The most complex structure ever built in CLT.”
Arup’s Andrew Laurence
Alison Brooks Architects - Landmark Project - The Smile

Arup have applied the latest timber research combined with 4000 screws over a foot long to fasten the panels together. To prevent it rocking, The Smile is anchored down to a wooden cradle filled with 20 tonnes of steel counterweights. The most complex CLT structure ever built with its swooping 12m cantilevered arms and ground access, provides a massive engineering challenge.  This is accentuated by the inclusion of perforations in the walls, concentrated where there is less stress and dispersing were the timber is working the hardest.

A view of Tate Britain from The Smile
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