The pavilion, a circular structure with a view into the sky, is designed as a space that can be used by the whole Westminster community, and by members of the public, to gather together.
The project offered participants real life construction experience where they were asked to use innovative design and production methods. The initial designs were undertaken during workshop sessions, before students completed a detailed fabrication phase where parts of the structure were made in the University’s Fabrication Laboratory (Fab Lab) and finally constructed as a team on the podium.
The design was inspired by Architect Vladimir Tatlin’s 1919 design for the Tatlin Tower, a design not realised until a sculpture was built in 1971 as part of the ‘Art in Revolution’ Exhibition at the Hayward Gallery. The 1971 sculpture was constructed at the rear patio of the Marylebone Campus - the same location where the students’ Oculus Pavilion sits this year. Tatlin’s Tower was an ‘avant-garde structural design’ which had a considerable impact on contemporary artistic thinking.
Maria Kramer, Lecturer in Architecture and Leader of the Oculus Pavilion’s design project, said: “This was an exciting opportunity for students to experience the detail design and building process first hand, understanding the complex development of translating a cutting edge proposal into a build structure.
“The rear podium benefitted from an exciting pavilion showcasing the possibility of using the external space socially all year round. We used innovative CNC technology manufacturing more than 300 component pieces at the university’s own Fabrication Laboratory. With the help of the structural engineers StructureMode and Weber Industries we managed the construction process bridging the gap between academia and practice.”