Timber pavilion at Senate House, London

Demountable and portable timber pavilion for University of London.

We had significant influenced the final design, including reducing the overall size by 50% to facilitate the use of timber instead of steel, which had a significant effect on the embodied carbon of the design.

We introduced other design features that improved the structural efficiency, simplify manufacture and reduce costs.

Natural softwood was used for the trusses, which span between timber glulam columns.

The seating was prefabricated in modules, using natural softwood, which rest on top of the trusses, fixed into place on site.

To aid disassembly, we used steel plates for many connections, as bolts through timber to timber connections are hard to remove due to swelling and other movements.

Strong winds exist next to the tall tower of Senate House, twice the normal elsewhere at ground level. In addition the scoop like shape of the pavilion made the issue worse. To alleviate the issue, voids were introduced into the risers of the seating. However, we still needed significant weighting to prevent the pavilion from sliding which was achieved using reusable concrete blocks.

  • Client: University of London
  • Architectural design: BDP
  • Contractor: Weber Industries
  • Photos: StructureMode