Grandorge’s Pavilion

David Grandorge

The timber pavilion shown in the film is being transported to its third incarnation, and from inside another shed to its second locale in Shatwell farmyard, where it will serve as a new temporary office for the Timber Frame Company Ltd. The TFC constructed the Peter Smithson Obelisk that has stood in the farmyard since 2016, and was first erected at Hadspen in 2002.

The pavilion was originally commissioned by Architecture Today for the Ecobuild exhibition at Earls Court in February 2008. It was conceived both as exhibition space and as a provocation about the technical and poetic possibilities of timber construction. The wall and roof panels of the pavilion were prefabricated to a high tolerance (+/- 1 mm) at Spring House, London Metropolitan University, using semi-skilled labour over five days. The prefabricated elements were transported to Earls Court in a single lorry load and the pavilion was erected at Ecobuild over a single day. Finishing and the installation of the room, ramp, steps and raised platform took a further two days.

We subsequently met with artists Rut Blees Luxemburg and Hilary Koob-Sassen and offered to rebuild it for them as a studio in the Shatwell farmyard. In June 2008, the structure and additional elements were transported from the Holloway Road to Shatwell in a single journey made on a 12.5 m flatbed trailer. The prefabricated elements were then reassembled and added to, thereby transforming the original structure into a visually and thermally warm space inside an existing agricultural shed. The structure was reassembled as large wall and roof panels, lifted into place using human energy with the aid of a block and tackle and ropes.

The reconstruction and adaptation of the Finnforest Pavilion inside a former agricultural shed in Shatwell tested the adaptability of the existing structure, its ability to be disassembled and reassembled, the ability of the walls to carry a floor of applied load and the stability of Kerto-S when used to make joinery elements — windows and doors. This construction phase was completed in five days. Works included the fabrication of an upper floor made from Kerto-S joists with a deck of Douglas Fir plywood, a shower room at ground level, a lightweight stair whose stringers were made from five layers of 9 mm birch-faced plywood, a bookcase that also acted as balustrade and windows and doors made from Kerto-S and twin wall polycarbonate.

This text is part of an ongoing series that records the building projects undertaken at Shatwell Farm. For more on the Shatwell Project, click here.