The pavilion that changes colour

  • A striking steel pavilion for the City of London
  • Open, asymmetrical form
  • Designed to change colour over time

Being part of this effort to create a new public space for London – one that takes back space from the road and is run by a community enterprise – is brilliant.

Sean Affleck
Lead project architect, Make

Project Details

Location London, UK
Status On site
Sectors , Arts and culture, Retail
Area 250m²/2,690ft²
Client The City of London

Make is helping transform the City of London with a new family of pavilions. Our brief for this one, at Aldgate Square, was two-fold: the design had to tie in with our award-winning visitor information centre at St Paul’s Cathedral and respect the listed church and school nearby.

We’ve responded with plans for an asymmetrical steel structure with sliding glass walls set between three triangular support points. The steel not only complements the metallic envelope of the information centre; it’s a corrosion-resistant weathering variety, so it will oxidise and eventually turn orange and brown – hues that correspond with those of the surrounding historic buildings.

It’s a striking design, though its footprint is tiny. The faceted surface minimises the pavilion's profile, and an old pedestrian subway beneath is being re-purposed for public toilets and back-of-house facilities. The subway's tunnels are also used to provide passive heating and cooling, measures topped up with low-energy VRF units.

Once complete, the pavilion will operate as a café, run by a community enterprise. Because its walls can be opened up to connect with the surrounding redeveloped garden, it has potential to host meetings, exhibitions, yoga classes and more – a gathering place for the local community and the City at large.