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Make unveils Cor-ten pavilion in City of London

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The Portsoken Pavilion, a sculptural monocoque structure, is designed to help transform the Aldgate roundabout into a public space

The 325m² Cor-ten steel structure has been completed as part of the City of London Corporation’s strategy to create the new ‘Aldgate Square’.

The pavilion will be run as a community enterprise café and multi-functional event space by local social enterprise Kahaila. Its distinctive angular structure folds down to meet the ground at just three triangular support points, interspersed by glazing. Cor-ten cladding panels, which will darken over time, form a rigid structural skin covering the pavilion.

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The interior soffits are clad with white laminate timber panels, punched with slots to aid the acoustics. Two large asymmetrical rooflights sit over the central counter drawing light into the building. 

Single storey above ground, the pavilion’s design utilises part of the former public subway in the roundabout to provide a basement level for plant, back-of-house facilities, kitchens and toilets. The constant temperature of these concrete tunnels helps regulate the temperature of the building, with air drawn through them and up into the café, heating it in winter or cooling it in summer. The entire structure was prefabricated offsite and then taken apart and allowed to rust while the site was prepared by the contractor.

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Architect’s view 

The final scheme is beautiful – distinctive, yet respectful of the heritage architecture surrounding it. The ambition and determination of the City of London Corporation to deliver the square and the pavilion – despite the challenges – in order to transform this parcel of London for the benefit of the local community, should be applauded.

Sarah Shuttleworth, project architect, Make

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Client’s view

It’s been an absolute pleasure to see a gyratory which reflected 1960s traffic planning, brought into the 21st century. With the imminent arrival of the Elizabeth Line, our number-one priority is that infrastructure is fit for purpose. More than ever we are seeing businesses focusing on local amenities and making location decisions based on the quality of public realm that they can offer their employees. The completion of the square marks a step change to the area, demonstrating to investors that they should continue to commit to the City’s world-class public realm. These were ambitious plans but it is only right that we deliver a healthy, inclusive environment for the diverse residents, school children, visitors and workers in Europe’s leading business district.

Chris Hayward, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Planning and Transportation Committee

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Project data 

Completion July 2018
Gross internal floor area 325m²
Construction cost Undisclosed
Architect Make
Client City of London Corporation
Structural engineer Fluid Structures
M&E consultant AECOM
Steel subcontractor Littlehampton Welding
Glazing subcontractor Cantifix Glazing
Construction Kier

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