The Pavilion: ACME’s east London meeting place has a sustainable twist
The Pavilion at Endeavour Square in London’s Stratford is a new meeting place with a sustainable timber structure, courtesy of architecture studio ACME
Stratford just got a new meeting place. The Pavilion at Endeavour Square has just been unveiled to a design by ACME, bringing sustainable architecture, fun design and a touch of placemaking to this part of east London.
The London architecture studio’s director Friedrich Ludewig started off designing with a seemingly blank slate site – an open and as yet undeveloped part of Stratford’s International Quarter that sits just outside the borders of the Westfield complex and next to the large bridge that takes visitors through to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the Aquatics Centre and the West Ham’s London Stadium beyond. Surrounded at the moment by construction, newly completed office towers and enough rail tracks to make a train spotter happy, the site was in need of a purpose and a focal point – something fun and engaging, welcoming, useful and strong enough to act as a landmark for its corner of this still-growing London neighbourhood.
Moulding a meeting place
Enter ACME, which immediately identified, Ludewig recalls, a set of parameters that helped the team define their design for this ‘vertical piazza’. Having worked on the Olympic Park and bridges’ masterplanning some 15 years ago, the architect had a strong affinity for the area and its needs. It needed to be a building that ‘says hello from all sides’, he says; one that doesn’t have a flat roof, so as to enhance its views through drops and vantage points; one that has a garden that pays homage to the nearby park and the wider site’s origins; and a structure that is lightweight, as it was going to be built atop a DLR tunnel and train lines.
The first three elements helped ACME mould the building’s shape – it’s an expressive volume that swells and dips, creating a number of staircases and ways in and through, terraces and stepped seating areas, as well as the undulating rooftop with its decked areas and lush native wildflower gardens. The very last parameter – weight – was crucial in defining the building’s material and construction methods. The structure is impressively made almost entirely (with the exception of its shallow concrete foundations) of wood.
ACME’s inspiring timber structure
The Pavilion is an extremely lightweight timber structure, made using cross-laminated and glue-laminated timber panels, which carry low embodied carbon. Parametrically controlled timber fin cladding and a timber frame were designed to perfection, forming a building that has achieved a rare, ‘Outstanding’ BREEAM score of 92 per cent.
This was also aided by the fact that The Pavilion is connected to the Stratford district heating and cooling network and has external lighting especially designed to minimise light pollution. Projecting slabs and a beautiful soffit ceiling inside celebrate wood throughout – while the green spaces created at the top enhance the area’s biodiversity, as they act as a food source for pollinators, and a home for bird and bat species.
A nod to Alpine landscapes
If going round the building, with its blooming meadows, rolling hills and long views, conjures up images of Alpine landscapes, you are not far off the mark. Drawing on Alpine architecture and the nearby Olympic Park’s sporting references, Alpine themes helped guide the design of The Pavilion – and in particular, its interiors. The building’s two levels are occupied by Haugen, a delicatessen, brasserie and café inspired by Alpine dining, with an interior design concept created by the award-winning creative studio of Afroditi Krassa.
The ground floor also hosts an information point for the wider area, pointing to sights such as the nearby mobile orchard display The Hothouse by Studio Weave and garden designer Tom Massey. Meanwhile, a set of water fountains and an art piece by Troika adorn the open square right in front of The Pavilion, completing this new offering in Stratford’s cultural and hospitallity scene. §