A collaboration between The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), Alison Brooks Architects and Arup engineers, "The Smile" is one of this year's Landmark Projects at the London Design Festival.
"The Smile" showcases the structural and spatial potential of cross-laminated American tulipwood, which is stronger than concrete, and can also be machined to incredibly high tolerances.
Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is an engineered timber that can be used to make the walls and floors of entire buildings. It has a layered construction with the wood fibers turned at right angles in each successive layer, creating a panel with equal strength in both directions.
An interior view of "The Smile" reveals the attractive versatility of CLT.
The curved, tubular timber structure measures 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) high, 4.5 meters (14.8 feet) wide, and 34 meters (111.5 feet) long.
Alison Brooks' concept is the first ever "mega-tube" made with construction-sized panels of hardwood CLT.
"(CLT is) going to open up a whole new world of possibility," says Brooks, see here. "It reveals the possibility of buildings being completely fabricated in wood."
"The Smile" is made from just 12 huge tulipwood panels.
The largest panel is 14 meters (46 feet) long and 4.5 meters (14.8 feet) wide, a size that can compete with precast concrete.
An early model of "The Smile."