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Alison Brooks' 'The Smile' demonstrates potential of hardwood megastructures

Architecture studio Alison Brooks have created a banana-like structure for this September’s London Design Festival, due to sit in the grounds of the Chelsea College of Arts during the event.

Aptly named ‘The Smile’, the curving urban structure is being built from cross-laminated tulipwood and has been created as a means to demonstrate the structural and spatial potential of that material, in addition to its artistic purpose.

The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) is backing the project, which will stand at 3.5m (12ft) high and 34m (111ft) long. The curved tube will be the “first ever hardwood mega-tube”, according to AHEC.

AHEC added that the first use of industrial-sized hardwood CLT panels marked a “significant advance that brings a revolutionary new element to wood construction”.

Arup is the engineering team for the development, which will cover 180sq m (1,940sq ft).

According to Alison Brooks, “the curved floor, curved ceiling and curved walls create a dynamic and unfamiliar internal space. It is an undulating environment, something between a landscape, an adventure playground, a bridge and a diving board.”

The installation opens to the public on 16 September and will remain there until 12 October.

Alison Brooks  architecture  visitor attraction  The Smile  hardwood mega structures 
Architecture studio Alison Brooks have created a banana-like structure for this September’s London Design Festival, due to sit in the grounds of the Chelsea College of Arts during the event. Aptly named ‘The Smile’, the curving urban structure is being built from cross-laminated tulipwood and has been created as a means to demonstrate the structural and spatial potential of that material, in addition to its artistic purpose. The American Hardwood
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Nicknamed 'The Smile' the structure will sit in the grounds of the Chelsea College of Arts during September
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