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George King Architects wins international pavilion competition

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Emerging practice George King Architects has won another design contest – this time for a pavilion on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast

The London-based studio also recently won the competition for a new sculpture on Eastbourne beachfront and was shortlisted against Zaha Hadid Architects and Glenn Howells in the contest to design a new sustainable stadium for Forest Green Rovers Football Club in Gloucestershire.

The practice’s Shell Pavilion saw off competition from 95 entries from 34 different countries in the Bulgarian contest, which was restricted to designers under the age of 35.

Organised by Devnya Cement and the Varna Design Forum, the brief called for ‘a technically innovative pavilion formed from the EFFIX cement material, that would become a unique and recognisable symbol of Varna and its Seaside Garden’.

The winning design features monocoque white ‘seashell’ modules that fit together to form expandable pavilion arrangements.

George King Architects will travel to Devnya Cement’s research centre in Bergamo, Italy, later this year to develop the design for construction before the pavilion is unveiled in Varna in 2017.

Shell Pavilion by George King Architects

Shell Pavilion by George King Architects

Architect’s view

Each shell is a slim and efficient monocoque structure that gets its strength and stability through the geometry of its form alone, with no need for additional structural reinforcement. The system is designed to be entirely modular. A basic open shell is formed from six prefabricated panels which are fixed together on site. To this can be added additional wall panels to create an enclosed shell form if required. The system can then be expanded further by combining additional shells in either a radial or linear formation.

The geometry of the Shell Pavilion references its source of inspiration through the treatment of its surfaces. The inner surface is kept smooth and clean, while the outer features a molded texture of ridges that run its full length, adding structural support to the skin. These ridges also act to create a dramatic shadow effect in the daytime whilst at night they conceal a series of linear LED lights, creating a magical glowing effect that mimics the bioluminescent properties of sea creatures.

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