Serpentine Gallery Pavilion

The Serpentine Gallery pavilion for 2005 was a dramatic 400m2 arching grid of laminated spruce elements designed by the famous Portuguese architects Alvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura in association with Cecil Balmond.

About this project

The Project

The Serpentine Gallery pavilion for 2005 was a dramatic 400m2 arching grid of laminated spruce elements designed by the famous Portuguese architects Alvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura in association with Cecil Balmond.

An innovative reciprocal structure was used, in which interlocking elements of two grid-unit lengths were arranged in a mutually supporting pattern. This allowed each element to have simple mortice-and-tenon connections, yet maintain overall grillage bending stiffness. The grillage was clad externally with translucent panels that incorporated autonomous solar-powered lights.

The vaulted grid is reminiscent of the lamella barrel-vaulted roofs of 1920’s Germany, but, while traditional lamellas were built from identical elements, each element of this pavilion has a different length and angle. 

Requirements for high strength and dimensional stability led to the use of Kerto-Q, made from laminated veneers of Finnish spruce. Each element is numbered and put together in a specified sequence.

At a glance

  • Grillage of laminated timber (Kerto-Q Finnish spruce)

Source: Supplied to wood for good by BRE in a pdf of case studies.

Key contacts

Architects
A. Siza and E.S. de Moura with C. Balmond

Main Contractors

Bovis LendLease

Structural Engineers

ARUP

Joinery/Timber Suppliers

Finnforest Merk

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