Designed by French-Lebanese architect Lina Ghotmeh, the 2023 edition of the Serpentine Pavilion is an embodiment of nature, its appearance and composition taking inspiration from the surrounding tree canopy of the park.
The design process has been driven by a sustainability imperative. Its wooden fabrication reflects the natural character of the immediate landscape, and a low carbon material reduces the carbon footprint when compared with other materials. Pre-cast concrete foundations were selected to support the load and the structure intended to be demountable for re-locating.
We are privileged to have delivered the last fourteen Serpentine Pavilions and are familiar with the concise build programme. However, the challenges that arise are always new. It’s a superb opportunity to get creative and find new ways to craft and engineer. For this project the challenge was largely operational, handling materials at scale and volume required fastidious processing in our workshops to ensure each item was designed and manufactured in the context of an accelerated schedule.
The perimeter structure is formed from glulam beams that represent the trees of the parkland, each precisely located and connected using bonded threaded bars. Each roof purlin was supported by two columns, forming a cantilever that eliminated the need for scaffolding in this phase of the build, saving both time and availability of space on site.
Walls were formed of plywood fretwork cut to an organic design on our CNC machines, complementing the aesthetical aspect whilst allowing both light and ventilation to permeate the pavilion. And just like the treetops, the roof reflected the form of a leaf; the pleated plywood was coated in a liquid membrane to provide waterproofing, the RAL colour specified to harmonise with its surroundings.
Due to the precision in engineering of manufactured components, the build of the timber structure was incredibly efficient. The whole build on site was completed in 42 days.
We are delighted that the Serpentine Pavilion has been shortlisted in the 2023 Wood Awards as an exemplar timber installation, read more about it here