Developer British Land commissioned the Osnaburgh Pavilions to provide landscape features in their Regents Place office campus redevelopment in London. They consist of three oak lattice structures detailed, fabricated and installed by Xylotek.
The pavilions increase in size, moving from west to east to draw people into the campus from Osnaburgh Street. The first structure welcomes people to gather and sit in conversation. The second pavilion encourages children and adults alike to play with a large circular spinning seat positioned in the path's centre. The final pavilion creates a new tiered performance space for the local theatre group and a venue for evening and weekend music.
The architect, Nex, developed early designs through sketches, study models, and VR simulation to develop the three pavilions' form, size and location. With these decisions made, Nex collaborated with Xylotek to complete computational studies that developed the irregular lattice structures into geometrically rigorous but non-uniform patterns of thin oak lathes.
A key challenge was designing the structures so that the lathes remained slender while being stiff enough to create self-supporting lattices when put together. The final design takes advantage of off-site manufacturing to improve the quality of craftsmanship, cut waste, and reduce on-site assembly time. Using sustainably sourced oak, thin strips were bent and laminated into their final curved shapes on room-sized jigs. Laminated strips were then layered together to make lattices before being transported to the site for final assembly with [a] further layers of loose lathes.
The laths forming each pavilion are arranged in four layers, with alternate layers spiralling in opposite directions. Within each layer, the laths share self-similar geodesic curved shapes, meaning that they could be formed from initially straight oak ribbons. The self-similarity meant all the laths in one layer could be formed on a single bending jig. At the same time, visual dissimilarity was created by varying the length in a repeating pattern overlayed with some randomness.
This process created a visual play between regular underlying patterns and a sense of natural variation.
There are over 400 laths made of over 10km of oak lamella strips. Each oak lath has a cross-section of 65x40mm and is made of 5 layers of 8mm oak lamellas. Short lengths of oak end-to-end lamellas of up to 9.5m were created by finger-jointing.
The glue-lamination was carried out in Xylotek’s Bristol workshop on a set of bespoke profiling jigs, and segments of each pavilion were preassembled in the workshop, positioned on site, and then overlaid with further laths to create the entire 3d lattice of curved oak.
The doorway arches are also formed of glue-laminated oak and are formed in a way that best matches the pavilion's complex curvature with single-direction curved elements.
Surface treatments were applied to the laths in the workshop to provide fire protection and add to the durability of the timber.