The strength of a smile

The Smile in London, UK by Alison Brooks

VISITORS TO THE London Design Festival in late September will be met by a 34 metre wide smile – made from American tulipwood, a species of hardwood. Called The Smile, the pavilion was designed by the architect Alison Brooks to show the public just what can be done with crosslam. Design and engineering company Arup took care of the structural engineering, while the crosslam panels were supplied by German company Züblin. At a length of 14 metres, these are the biggest hardwood crosslam panels ever made. The building comprises 12 wooden panels, held together with 2,000 screws.

Light enters through the open ends, along with a number of holes in the sides. The holes are positioned where the wooden panels are under the least stress. In the centre the structure is anchored to a wooden wall that in turn is held in place by a concrete slab – but the curving ends are held up entirely by the strength of the crosslam.«


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