UK First: Fully Demountable Pavillion Made from New Type of CLT

The project is the first example of a eucalyptus rather than pine or spruce species of CLT being used in England - which promises greater water resistance and durability.

Tue 25 Jun 24


The UK’s first example of a cross-laminated timber pavilion made from eucalyptus rather than pine or spruce is a standout at the 2024 London Festival of Architecture, now running at sites across London.

The fully water-repellent, highly durable and demountable mass timber structure now stands proudly on the River Thames’ banks near the Bow Creek Lighthouse in Trinity Buoy Wharf. And, following the 30-day Festival, it will be fully disassembled and reassembled at Houghton Estate as part of Norfolk’s Houghton Music & Arts Festival.

Known as The Armadillo, the half-moon-shaped pavilion, constructed from stepped timber arches, was designed by UK studio Unknown Works and made from 42 prefabricated CLT panels manufactured offsite by Xilonor. Working with CLT supplier ConstruktCLT and the Houghton Music & Arts Festival, the project came to life with support from Studio Allen, Rothoblaas, ARUP, Charcoalblue, Klimstar, and Rubio.

CLT allows architects to create different structural and geometric shapes

“We set out to sculpt new typologies from this material, crafting innovative CLT forms and pioneering demountable fixing systems,” said Ben Hayes, director of Unknown Works, who added the studio was now using CLT to test different structural and geometric shapes.

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

According to Mr Hayes, the studio is interested in the relationship between sound and architecture, “a theme we have woven through many of our projects…this pavilion stands as a natural amplifier, embracing unamplified sound while tempering feedback for amplified performances.”

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The structure uses detailed acoustic modelling, with each panel rotated outward to amplify the performer’s sound. (Photo Credit: Teshan Selva)

Wood Central understands that The Armadillo can be lit from within during performances, creating a dramatic effect that emphasises the pavilion’s shape – with the pavilion tailored for different events.

“The lighting is multi-channelled and fully programmable for artists to augment,” Hayes said, adding that “it performs alongside the architecture, highlighting the building’s geometry and creating a customised backdrop for each performer.”

It also is “modular and demountable,” Mr Hayes said, “ensuring ease of transportation, ready to illuminate wherever it journeys,” where it will stand “as a living experiment at Houghton Arts & Music Festival, where it will be observed over the years to come.”

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Lighting is multi-channelled and fully programmable so that it can be adjusted to artists’ requirements. (Photo Credit: Teshan Selva)
What makes The Armadillo unique?

Wood Central understands the project has been fully optimised to provide natural acoustic amplification without producing sound feedback for performers. The angles of the timber panels project sound outwards, while slender gaps along the tesselating archways are lined with an opaque silicone membrane. In addition, the arches are inset with programmable lighting tracks, providing a multi-sensory art experience.


  • Wood Central

    Wood Central is Australia’s first and only dedicated platform covering wood-based media across all digital platforms. Our vision is to develop an integrated platform for media, events, education, and products that connect, inform, and inspire the people and organisations who work in and promote forestry, timber, and fibre.


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