Demountable timber pavilion at Senate House, London

A demountable and reusable timber pavilion for University of London.

We had significant influenced the final design, including reducing its overall size by 50% to allow timber to be used for the structure instead of steel, which significantly reduced its embodied carbon.

We worked hard to coordinate with the fabricator, Weber Industries, to refine the connection details to simplify manufacturing, installation and disassembly.

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

The seating is prefabricated in modules, using natural softwood, which clip together and sit on top of the trusses, and bolted into place on site.

To aid disassembly, steel plates were used for many connections, as connections with bolts through timber to timber are hard to remove due to swelling and distortion.

Strong winds are known to exist around Senate House, with its tall tower and flanking buildings – the wind speed is twice that elsewhere. In addition the scoop like shape of the pavilion which catches the wind made the situation even worse. To alleviate the issue, we introduced voids into the risers of the seating. However, significant weighting was still required to prevent the pavilion from sliding, which was achieved with reusable concrete blocks.

We found an existing concrete slab below the car park, which we wanted to use instead of the new concrete blocks. However, to achieve the client’s requirement of portability, we needed a solution that would work on its own.

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