Innovative CLT tulipwood structure 'The Smile' to be unveiled at London Design Festival
The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) has collaborated with Alison Brooks Architects, Arup and the London Design Festival to present a cross-laminated tulipwood structure, ‘The Smile’ at the Chelsea College of Art Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground from 17 September until 12 October.
The Smile is one of the Festival’s Landmark Projects, which can be inhabited and explored by the public. The spectacular, curved, tubular timber structure measures 3.5m high, 4.5m wide and 34m long and is effectively a beam curving up at both ends. Showcasing the structural and spatial potential of cross-laminated American tulipwood, Alison Brooks' concept is the first ever ‘mega-tube’ made with construction-sized panels of hardwood CLT.
The Smile is the first project in the world to use large hardwood CLT panels, in fact the entire structure is made from just 12 huge tulipwood panels, each up to 14m long and 4.5m wide. Fabricating these panels in a real CLT production plant has been an important step forward, showcasing how the material can be used for commercial projects.
Architect Alison Brooks said: "The Smile’s form itself is an invitation to test whether the pavilion moves, and how it feels to walk in on a curved floor. A single door and ramp from the square invites visitors to enter – something like our archetypal image of Noah’s Ark. Inside the door light spilling from the ends of the arc will invite you to walk up the slope of the curve to balconies at either end, rather like looking out from the rail of a ship."
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View the Gallery here.