Craft Not Carbon Pavilion

Tags: events and exhibitions, timber, temporary structures

  • Client: London Borough of Bromley, London Festival of Architecture
  • Architect: Webb Yates Engineers, Studio Saar
  • Photography: Agnese Sanvito
  • Completion: 2023
  • Expertise: Structures
Craft Not Carbon Pavilion - Webb Yates Engineers
Craft Not Carbon Pavilion - Webb Yates Engineers

Designed by Webb Yates Engineers, in collaboration with Studio Saar and Xylotek, and supported by PIVETEAUBOIS, Gang-Nail/ITW Construction Products and HUB, the Craft Not Carbon pavilion, featuring a simple timber frame supporting a woven canopy, seeks new ways of thinking about structures. Responding to challenges of our time, it questions ‘is local material, craft and maintenance a viable solution for the future of UK construction?’

Situated in Crystal Palace Park throughout June, the pavilion formed part of the London Festival of Architecture's 2023 programme. With the London Borough of Bromley joining the festival as a key destination for the first time, and community charity Crystal Palace Park Trust taking over the management of the park, the location was ideal to champion the power of community maintenance and craftsmanship to create a social and material common place of gathering.

The installation brings ideas from a new learning/cultural centre in Udaipur India, created by Studio Saar with Webb Yates Engineers. The new community hub features a woven roof canopy, employing local weavers for construction and maintenance – a circular solution that was found to be more sustainable, socially responsible, and economical than the long-life and high carbon aluminium alternative.

Echoing Joseph Paxton’s iron structure for the Great Exhibition in 1851, which brought in totally new ways of thinking about construction, adopting prefabrication and “just-in-time” manufacture, the Craft Not Carbon Pavilion too suggests new ways of thinking about buildings. It responds to the social and environmental challenges of our time, showcasing the role of craftsmanship and importance of low carbon materials.

Like the Great Exhibition, at the end of the festival the pavilion is relocated to a permanent site.