The Smile wins Architizer A+Award

A Winning Smile! We’ve won the Jury’s Award for the Cultural-Pavilions category in the Architizer A+Awards 2017, announced 11th April.  The Smile was also shortlisted in the Pop-Ups, Temporary and Wood categories.

The highlight of the 2016 London Design Festival, The Smile was an experimental public pavilion designed by Alison Brooks Architects and engineered by Arup. Conceived as a habitable arc poised on the horizon, The Smile offered an immersive sensory environment integrating structure, surface, space and light. Using only cross laminated timber, the 34-metre-long dynamically curved space was an installed in the Chelsea College of Art (UAL) Parade Ground opposite Tate Britain. It was open to the public for 4 weeks attracting 30,000 visitors. With 290m online views and thousands of Instagram photos, the Smile sparked a global audience with its spectacular scale, pure form, and advanced timber engineering.

Each end of the Smile focused on a particular view of the locality – at one end a tree crown, at the other end the Edwardian façade of Chelsea College. Small perforations along the length of the tube expressed the forces acting on the CLT, translating the forces into light patterns for the Smile’s interior. Unique to tulipwood as a structural material is its beautiful grain and fine finish. Along with its unique curved floor, natural timber scent and unusual acoustic qualities, the Smile was ‘the most complex structure ever built in CLT’.

The project brief was to create a magnet for public engagement with architecture and design, while demonstrating the extraordinary properties of tulipwood, a North American hardwood tree species that is twice as strong and half as heavy as softwood. The Smile’s 12m long x 4m wide x 3m high CLT cantilevers were engineered to support 60-100 people at one end with only a 1m deep timber footing. The Smile one of the most important developments in a decade of research into structural timber innovation by The American Hardwood Council and Arup.

The Architizer A+Awards is the largest awards program focused on promoting and celebrating the year’s best architecture and products. Its mission is to nurture the appreciation of meaningful architecture in the world and champion its potential for a positive impact on everyday life. The shortlist of five finalists per category was nominated by an international jury of industry leaders from architecture, technology, art, fashion and design fields. The awards culminate in a red carpet gala celebration in New York in May.


The Architizer A+Awards