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Competition: Dulwich Pavilion, London

The London Festival of Architecture (LFA) has launched a design competition for a temporary events pavilion outside John Soane’s Grade II*-listed Dulwich Picture Gallery (Deadline: 24 November)

The Dulwich Pavilion contest invites ‘fresh and exciting architectural talent’ to draw up proposals for the new structure.

The winning design will be constructed in time for the start of next year’s LFA, and will mark the gallery’s 200th anniversary. The south London building is believed to be England’s oldest public gallery.



Dulwich Picture Gallery

LFA director Tamsie Thomson said: ‘The Dulwich Pavilion project will be a highlight of the London Festival of Architecture 2017, and brings together the world’s oldest public gallery and the world’s largest public architecture festival.

‘The result will showcase emerging architectural talent, address some real practical issues facing Dulwich Picture Gallery, and offer a model that could be applied elsewhere. The competition is a fantastic opportunity for emerging architects to be inspired by the spirit and character of Soane’s building, and to produce a mini-masterpiece of their own.’

Ian Dejardin, the gallery’s Sackler director commented: ‘Soane’s design for Dulwich was groundbreaking when it opened in 1817, tackling the issue of how to illuminate paintings in a public space and at the same time producing an architectural solution of great beauty.

Store Street, London

Store Street, London

Hy-Pavilion by Price & Myers with Moxon Architects

‘Today, 200 years on, we welcome over 200,000 visitors every year and face the challenges of many modern arts institutions to be able to offer our audiences more, and use our spaces to generate income. Architectural problem-solving remains key to our survival and success. We look forward to offering an emerging architect the opportunity to work with us and the LFA on this exciting new venture.’

The gallery’s brick building features a series of interlinked, top-lit rooms which helped redefine standard approaches to art gallery design. Rick Mather Architects renovated the building and created a separate café and exhibition space nearby 16 years ago.

The temporary pavilion will host exhibitions, events, lectures and learning activities, and will allow the Dulwich Picture Gallery to meet growing visitor numbers and harness new revenue streams. The competition comes six years after Price & Myers and Moxon Architects completed the temporary ‘Hy-Pavilion’ (pictured) on Store Street for the LFA.

Contest judges include Thomson, Dejardin, Carl Turner of Carl Turner Architects and River Café founder Ruth Rogers. Up to three shortlisted teams will receive £500 each to draw up design concepts following an open expressions of interest round. The winning design is set to be announced in January, and will be constructed during the spring to complete in time for the next LFA, which starts on 1 June 2017.

How to apply


The deadline for applications is 24 November.

Contact details

Dulwich Picture Gallery
Gallery Rd
SE21 7AD


Visit the competition website for more information

Skyroom case study: Q&A with David Kohn

The director of David Kohn Architects discusses lessons learned designing a temporary rooftop events space for the Architecture Foundation in London Bridge

How did your Skyroom project create a high-quality temporary events space?

Skyroom unlocked potential of the previously neglected roof space, providing the Architecture Foundation with much-needed room for a range of events. Sitting above its previous offices on Tooley Street, the proportions of Skyroom enabled it to be occupied in a variety of different arrangements, both covered and open to the sky, for different occasions and uses ranging from lectures and performances to dinner parties and sun-bathing.



Skyroom by David Kohn Architects

The project helped to reveal new ways of seeing the city, the Thames glimpsed through the streets of More London, towers around south London now seen by the public from this elevated level. Suspense was created from the first moment you arrived, entering into a narrow space which then opened into a central courtyard open to the sky, framing the rising form of The Shard built high above London Bridge Station.

Which architectural, material, structural and contextual methods did you harness?

The design of Skyroom was a response to a number of major constraints: the limited structural capacity of the existing roof; location of the building within a conservation area with strict guidelines on the appearance of developments; and access to the roof for construction. As the roof was not able to support any additional load of either materials or people, the creation of a new structure above it was crucial. In order to transfer load into the existing steel columns, a new steel deck was created, passing through the roof to connect to the heads of the columns below.



Skyroom by David Kohn Architects

A limited budget and a tight programme were additional factors that steered the design of Skyroom, which went from detailed design to completion in just eight weeks. Low-cost materials were used in a manner that heightened their value, an open-minded client (Lake Estates, the landlord of the building), and a patient contractor all contributed to the success of this project.

What issues might be important when designing a temporary events pavilion for the Dulwich Picture Gallery?

The brief requires a great deal of flexibility, one needs to consider how to provide this while being bold enough to sit next to John Soane’s gallery! The pavilion needs to be robust, cost efficient and built quickly, as such materials should be a key consideration.

Can the temporary events pavilion allow visitors to appreciate the gallery in a new light, revealing a different aspect to this timeless building?



Skyroom by David Kohn Architects