Unknown Works constructs The Armadillo pavilion from eucalyptus wood

Armadillo pavilion

Architecture studio Unknown Works has designed The Armadillo, a half-moon-shaped pavilion constructed from stepped timber arches, which is on show as part of the London Festival of Architecture.

Located at Trinity Buoy Wharf in London, the pavilion has a curved shape constructed from 42 prefabricated cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels.

Curved timber pavilion
The pavilion currently sits on Trinity Buoy Wharf in London

The panels are made from eucalyptus timber, which according to manufacturer Xilonor is highly durable and water-repellent and hasn’t previously been used for external structures in the UK.

“We set out to sculpt new typologies from this material, crafting innovative CLT forms and pioneering demountable fixing systems,” Unknown Works director Ben Hayes told Dezeen.

The Armadillo by Unknown Works
It is made from 42 cross-laminated timber panels

“We are also interested in testing novel structural and geometric forms that can be made from CLT,” Hayes said.

“Working with the team, we decided on a series of interconnected modular arch structures that are fully demountable.”

Armadillo pavilion in London
Unknown Works named it The Armadillo after its shape

Unknown Works created The Armadillo – named for its shape – using stepped timber arches, which form an open pavilion for performances and help amplify sound.

“The structure’s shape emerged through detailed acoustic modelling, with each panel rotated outward at a precise angle, naturally amplifying the performer’s voice to the awaiting crowd,” Hayes said.

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“Our studio is interested in the relationship between sound and architecture, a theme we have woven through many of our projects,” he added.

“This pavilion stands as a natural amplifier, embracing unamplified sound while also tempering feedback for amplified performances.”

Detail of CLT pavilion
The pavilion is hosting performances during the London Architecture Festival

The Armadillo can be lit from within during performances, creating a dramatic effect that emphasises the shape of the pavilion and can be tailored for different events.

“The lighting is multi-channeled and fully programmable for artists to augment,” Hayes said.

“It performs alongside the architecture, highlighting the building’s geometry and creating a customised backdrop for each performer,” he added.

“Modular and demountable, it ensures ease of transportation, ready to illuminate wherever it journeys. “

Overhead view of timber pavilion
It can be lit from within

Once the London Festival of Architecture is over, the pavilion will be moved to the Houghton Estate to be part of the Houghton Music & Arts Festival in Norfolk.

“The Armadillo, the first of its kind, stands as a living experiment at Houghton Arts & Music festival, where it will be observed over the years to come,” Hayes concluded.

The Armadillo was a collaboration between Unknown Works, Xilonor, ConstruktCLT and Houghton Music & Arts Festival.

Other recent CLT designs include a dome theatre inside a Swedish museum and a mobile home in Barcelona.

The photography is by Henry Woide.

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