dulwich picture gallery pavilion


Hayatsu Architects collaborated with Tom Benton architects and the Victoria and Albert Museum researcher M J Wells to design a summer pavilion for Dulwich Picture Gallery. The competition was organised by London Festival of Architecture and the scheme was shortlisted in the final four. 


During the summer of 1812 whilst construction of the Gallery was underway, Soane’s pupils attended the building site and documented the progress made. Later redrawn for Soane’s twelfth Royal Academy lecture on construction, these drawings reveal the underlying tectonic assembly of the building and how the character of its magnificent top lit gallery spaces were formed. 

Through an inverted interplay of lining and frame, the Pavilion consists of four wings surrounding a central hall with a lantern roof light. Drawing on Soanean character and construction, the central hall has a framed roof light that echoes both the Gallery and Soane’s own Picture Gallery. In the daytime the room’s walls will be ethereally illuminated with light, whilst during the evening the structure will act as a lantern and a marker for the Gallery throughout the summer. 

The pavilion is large with a central hall that has the same proportion as the Picture Gallery’s single cubic volume of 8m x 8m x 8 m. With a floor area of over 150 m2, the challenge is to adopt an economical and efficient structural system, which utilizes standardised products readily available from a builder’s merchant. A simple palette of materials is used, consisting of structural softwood battens and plywood sheets, moisture- resistant plasterboard and corrugated polycarbonate sheets. The repetitive nature of structure allows for prefabrication of the components in order to reduce the time on site and achieve a high standard of workmanship. 

Currently limited by a lack of space, the Pavilion would offer a durable and multi-purpose hall that would be suitable for the Gallery’s extensive education and cultural programmes as well as the ability to generate revenue through event hire. The diagrams demonstrate the variety of layout options for the Pavilion during various occasions across the summer.

site plan and section.jpg


Tom Benton architects, Hayatsu Architects and M J Wells


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