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Timber & Timber Frames

Embassy for Refugees Pavilion, London


SmartPly and Timbmet have collaborated to realise the construction of the Embassy for Refugees Pavilion, as part of London’s Celebrating Sanctuary Festival 2013, which coincided with the start of Refugee Week. SmartPly OSB has been used as the main structure of the wood-based pavilion, which was CNC machined by Timbmet.

Located at the observation platform of The Queen’s Walk on London’s South Bank, the Embassy for Refugees Pavilion is designed by architect Natasha Reid. It takes its dramatic, curving timber form from the natural refuge that tree canopies can provide.

By evoking the shelter provided in nature, the pavilion uses a universally understood metaphor of refuge to communicate the importance of sanctuary. It will provide a contemplative space of refuge, acting as a central hub for the Celebrating Sanctuary Festival, by hosting a programme of talks by leading voices in humanitarianism and the arts.

Natasha Reid explains her concept: “The pavilion is a demonstration of how simple timber materials can produce innovative, elegant structures with exciting, unusual forms. Working with refugee children to develop the concept design for the pavilion, the resulting structure will house an art installation by school children.”

The pavilion has been constructed from around 100 sheets of SmartPly OSB from Coillte Panel Products, which have been machined by Timbmet according to Natasha Reid’s design. The structural nature and enduring strength of SmartPly make it suitable for projects demanding certified strength and loading. Because SmartPly is FSC-certified and fullychain of custody audited too, it offers an environmentally reassuring natural material choice.

Commenting on the materials used for the Embassy for Refugees Pavilion, George Watson, Product Manager for SmartPly at Coillte Panel Products said: “We are delighted to be involved in a project with such a creative humanitarian focus. Wood-based panel products such as SmartPly, which is sustainably sourced and legally documented, offer reliability – both in performance and credentials – for structural projects. This is overlaid nicely with the importance of structures as a refuge which contribute to the sustainability of societies.”

Timbmet Marketing Director, Liz Richards, commented “We relished the challenge of working with the design team on this unique project. With in-house programming skills, powerful CAD software and on-site CNC, cutting and machining facilities for any sized boards, we were able to cut and deliver this intricate design to meet the tight delivery deadline.”