Upper Lawn Pavilion: Strategy and Detail, Drawing / Feeling everything at once

Stephen Bates

In this film Stephen Bates discusses a group of drawings by Alison and Peter Smithson for the Upper Lawn Pavilion, dating from the late 1950s when the Smithsons bought the site, and the 1970s when the architects proposed several alterations—only some of which were realised. Stephen Bates’ relationship with the building began in the late 1990s when he, with Jonathan Sergison, brought a group of students to survey it; in 2004 Sergison Bates completed what has been described as an ‘invisible restoration’ of the project for its current owners.

The drawings for Upper Lawn have been generously loaned to Drawing Matter by the Smithson Family. A lightbox of these drawings can be viewed here.


Stephen Bates is a founding partner of Sergison Bates architects. Established in 1996, the practice was awarded the Heinrich Tessenow and the Eric Shelling Awards in 2006 and many of their projects have received prestigious awards. Stephen taught at the Architectural Association and was Visiting Professor at ETH Zurich, EPF Lausanne, ETSAB Barcelona, the Oslo School of Architecture, University of Antwerp, and GSD Harvard. Since 2009 he has been Professor of Urbanism and Housing at TU München. Through his work in practice, in his teaching, and his writing he has explored the role of architecture at all scales, from city-making to domesticity, designing buildings that are rooted in place, engaged with the historical dimension of existing urban fabric, responsive to the challenges of environmental, economic, and social sustainability.

For readers interested in the work of Alison and Peter Smithson, on Wednesday 25 October at 18.00 there will be a book launch for the new edition of Upper Lawn, Solar Pavilion, at the AA, hosted by the AA and Mack Books. The event includes a panel discussion with Ingrid Schroder (director of the AA), Paul Clarke (Belfast School of Architecture), Sam Johnson-Schlee (geographer and author) and our own Niall Hobhouse.

The new edition is edited in collaboration with the Smithson Family Collection and includes an introductory essay by Paul Clarke.

For more information about the event click here. To buy the book click here.