Architectural Association

DRL10 Pavilion

Designed in collaboration with Alvin Huang, this experimental design research project was the winning entry to an international design competition to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Design Research Lab at the Architectural Association.


2008 First prize in AA alumni design competition

The structure, located in Bedford Square in London, was an experimental design research project that was also open for use by the general public.

The design explored the structural and spatial potential of 13 mm-thick glass-fibre-reinforced concrete panels manufactured by the Austrian firm Rieder. The jury selected it for its constructability, simplicity, and elegance, and the overall concept of a pavilion in one single flowing form as a continuous extension from furniture to roof structure.

Its visually striking presence invites inspection from a distance. A closer look reveals the merging of many discrete flat concrete and steel elements into a single continuous curved form, with a thickened ground that accommodates multiple different uses and modes of occupation, blurring the distinction between inside and outside, shelter and stage.

The design and construction of the pavilion made innovative use of digital modelling, physical prototyping, and file-to-factory manufacturing techniques to manage over 850 uniquely shaped pieces and 3,000 joints of varying angles. Curved profiles were cut out of standard 1.2 m × 3.6 m fibre cement panels and shipped to the site for final assembly by dedicated Design Research Lab staff and students, with assistance from the manufacturer.

The realisation of this project was generously supported by Rieder, Adams Kara Taylor, Buro Happold, Zaha Hadid Architects, and Innova Construction.

“DRL 10 pavilion at the AA by Alan Dempsey and Alvin Huang, hints at an emergent and beautiful architecture, and somehow remind us that Zaha, Rem, Peter Cook and Tschumi all began their revolutions here”

Ed Frith, Building Design Magazine

DRL10 Pavilion
Architectural Association
December 2008
London & Singapore
£250, 000
Alan Dempsey
James BrittainValerie Bennett
Architectural Co-Design: Alvin Huang Structural Engineer: Adams Kara Taylor Manufacturer: Rieder Beton