The commission for the 2017 pavilion was accepted by Berlin-based Burkinabe, Francis Kéré and his practice. For the fifth year, AECOM provided technical design services including structural and civil engineering, fire engineering, specialist lighting and electrical design. The project was successfully completed on time and within budget, opening to the public in June 2017.
This article describes the technical and engineering challenges of delivering Francis Kéré’s vision of a floating steel-and-timber tree-like canopy over the sinuous timber walls that define the spaces inside the pavilion. Those spaces provided a temporary home to a wide range of community-based activities, ranging from cookery classes led by asylum seekers to ‘Build your own pavilion’ workshops, opening up the world of engineering and design to future generations.
A fusion of traditional design methods combined with the very latest digital modelling technologies was used in the delivery of the pavilion. This included pioneering examples of combining augmented and virtual reality throughout the whole design and construction process, which enabled the intricate details of the pavilion to be quickly communicated and fully resolved before fabrication and construction commenced.