Bethnal Green Pavilion

Set in a Victorian garden in London’s Bethnal Green, this temporary pavilion was shortlisted – and given a special mention – in an open design competition. The garden runs between the V&A Museum of Childhood and an early nineteenth-century church designed by Sir John Soane, and is bounded on one side by a busy road. The pavilion offers sanctuary from the noise and traffic, a contemplative space that visitors are free to use as they wish.

The pavilion has a circular, drum-like form and is clad with pleated, polished panels which reflect the surroundings and give the whole an ephemeral, almost mirage-like appearance. As the light changes throughout the day, so does the appearance of the pavilion. The inner surface of the walls has a repeating design taken from the floor of the Museum of Childhood.

In plan, the walls, entrance antechamber and internal bench are all set out as asymmetric, concentric circles, with the bench varying in depth to suit different uses, from a narrow reading seat to a deck for sun-lounging at its widest point. Arrival is low key: a closely mown lawn leads through the gardens to arrive at the entrance of the pavilion.