The Smile





Landmark Project

Architect Alison Brooks’ Landmark Project was a spectacular urban pavilion that took the shape of a smile.

Architect Alison Brooks’ Landmark Project could be described as an unidentified object: a 34m long, 3m high inverted arc poised on the urban horizon. Her project was also a spectacular urban pavilion that took the shape of a smile, its two ends designed as viewing platforms which looked on to the sky and reached out to neighbouring buildings.


Constructed entirely from tulipwood, The Smile created an immersive environment that integrated structure, surface, space and light. Its two swooping cantilevered arms appeared like a giant see-saw, yet the structure was balanced by the work of Arup - the project’s engineers, who constructed it from cross-laminated timber and by using high-performance hardwood. The structure was forward-looking; not only pushing the barriers of complex structures, but demonstrating that the 21st century is an era not of concrete but of timber. Brooks, the project architect, observed that ‘it looks like high-quality flooring, too good to be structural - and that’s kind of amazing’. For AHEC, The Smile was one of the most important developments in a decade of research into structural timber innovation with structural engineers. For Brooks, it was an opportunity ‘to stretch the material to the limit’.

Supported by the American Hardwood Export Council, Arup, Züblin Timber, Seam, Atrium In partnership with the University of the Arts London


London Design Festival

Over nine days in September, the London Design Festival feature hundreds of events taking place across London, showcasing the city's pivotal role in global design. The London Design Festival 2018 will be held 15-23 September, featuring over 400 Partners, Landmark Projects, and V&A Commissions.

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