The London School of Architecture

The London School of Architecture

London, GB


The Dalston Pavilion ‘cabinet of curiosities’ creates a platform for local outreach

By EE18
Jun 26, '24 11:41 AM EST
The Dalston Pavilion. All photographs © Rikard Svalastoga Kahn
The Dalston Pavilion. All photographs © Rikard Svalastoga Kahn

As part of its 10th anniversary celebrations, the London School of Architecture (LSA) has opened its Dalston Pavilion, as part of the London Festival of Architecture (LFA). Inspired by the traditional ‘cabinet of curiosities’ used to exhibit artefacts from around the world, the new timber structure will act as an outdoor exhibition space, dining room and classroom, in a public space close to the busy Kingsland Road.

Located in a car park next to the LSA, the new installation signals to the local community that the school - which only recently moved into the area - is committed to building relations with its neighbours as part of a long-term strategy. The school sees the surrounding city as its extended campus and this project as a physical distillation of that ideal.  

The pavilion is a prototype of the LSA’s new in-house project delivery office, CITIZEN, which focuses on working with makers, community groups and local organisations. Motivated by the ambition to extend the reach of its access to an even wider audience, the structure provides a venue and focal point for a public programme aimed at local young people aged 11-25 years old. CITIZEN has designed and built the Pavilion with Arup and the New School of Furniture Making (also based in LSA’s building), with contributions from Studio Superfluo, Or This, OllyStudio, Orsman Construction and local residents, and generous donations from the Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation, the Marchus Trust, E Roberts Timber, UPM WISA Plywood and James Latham.  

Constructed as a series of A-Frames and openable in-fill panels, the triangular-shaped pavilion is a functional object, with a design that picks up on the timber roof structure of the neighbouring Holy Trinity Church. The LSA has worked with local makers, including skilled residents of the adjoining estate,as part of the build of the pavilion. Workshops and access to the pavilion will be enabled through close partnerships with a local artist and resident of Rhodes Estate alongside the Forest Road Youth Hub, the largest youth centre in Hackney. Planters were created by landscape architects and ecologists working with teenagers.

Neal Shasore, Head of School and Chief Executive, said:

“The LSA has been based in Hackney for half its life, and intends to stay in the borough, collaborating with communities and investing in underserved and underrepresented young people who want to learn more about the built environment. 

The Dalston Pavilion is a beacon of our ‘Part 0’ campaign, which has thus far delivered 3 access and outreach programmes, and helped us to build relationships with more than a dozen local schools. This year, the young people who participated in our programmes sought to reimagine the car park site adjacent to the school through design, craft and ecology. The pavilion tells their stories and showcases their work for the wider neighbourhood to see and discuss. 

We are excited to see where CITIZEN - a platform for projects and engagement - takes us next.”

Programme collaborators include Rio Cinema, Forest Road Youth Hub, RIBA Youth Forum, Open City, Drawing Matter, HomeGrown Plus, Architecture Foundation Young Trustees, East and more.

CITIZEN works with makers and designs responsibly to meet the challenges of the climate and ecological crises. The team worked closely with The New School of Furniture Making, to ensure that the pavilion structure could be easily assembled and disassembled, with materials being reused for future projects. Materials have been chosen based on environmental impact - both Spruce plywood sheet material and timber structure contribute very little CO2 through their lifetime and contain sequestered CO2.