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The Smile

Alison Brooks Architects

The installation The Smile - brainchild of Alison Brooks and Arup for the London Design Festival that closed last October - demonstrated to the world the construction possibilities of hardwood. The Smile’s disarming simplicity conceals years of research into the cross-lamination of hardwood fibers and is the first structure built with industrial-sized panels of hardwood CLT. This 34 m rectangular-section “mega-tube” was arced so that the open ends of the two raised extremities became vantage points from which to view the surrounding area. The structure itself comprises just 12 prefabricated engineered tulipwood CLT panels 4.5 m wide and up to 14 m long. Assembled on site with 6,000 self-tapping screws, this huge tunnel is only an incredible 10 cm thick yet boasts higher structural resistance than reinforced concrete. Access to The Smile is via a large opening in the...

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