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Eton College ‘floating’ charred timber sports pavilion completed by Lewandowski Architects

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The 290m² Willowbrook Pavilion can open up fully to the college’s sports grounds with the use of corner glazing and retractable screens

Local practice Lewandowski Architects has completed the single-storey sports pavilion, the latest in a series of projects for the Berkshire school. The charred timber-clad building was designed to replace a facility that was no longer able to meet demands of the college’s community.

The brief for the pavilion was for a single-storey structure which included a range of accessible facilities for both athletes and spectators, alongside two all-weather pitches, a practice area and associated landscaping.


The original site for the scheme was located on a flood plain within redundant scrubland on green belt development land, so the pavilion was relocated to a more appropriate site adjacent the new all-weather pitches. Adequate sightlines across the tennis courts were retained, however. The new pavilion hovers above the ground with a raised floor to protect it from potential flood risk.

The building is clad in Shou Sugi Ban charred timber to create a unified material palette when viewed from afar. Floor-to-ceiling corner glazing and retractable screens allow the building to open up to its surroundings when in use and provide views from two levels: the reception hall and viewing terrace. When not in use and closed, the black structure is meant to make the building almost disappear.


Internally, a simple material palette of polished concrete floors, black accessories and cool-toned furnishings has been selected. Birch ply has been used to clad the building’s interior to add warmth and light.

Last year Hopkins’ Eton College sports complex, consisting of two new buildings, was approved by the local council. The first of the two buildings, the Eton Sports and Aquatics Centre ESAC, is scheduled to complete by late 2020.

2388 groundfloor plan

Project data 

Start on site July 2017
Completion May 2018
Gross internal floor area 290m²
Construction cost Confidential
Architect Lewandowski Architects
Client Eton College
Structural engineer Team 4 Consulting
M&E consultant Waterfox
QS Hand Deere & Cox
Landscape consultant Bowles and Wyer
SIPS contractor Bentley Projects
Joinery subcontractor D Smith Joinery
Main contractor Feltham Construction

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