Dulwich Picture Gallery and the London Festival of Architecture recently announced that IF_DO will design the very first ‘Dulwich Pavilion’, a temporary events structure in the Gallery’s historic grounds. The pavilion will host a vibrant programme of public events celebrating the Gallery’s bicentenary year and will open to the public at the beginning of the London Festival of Architecture on 1 June 2017. The project has been made possible through the generous support of Almacantar.

IF_DO are a young architecture practice based in Camberwell, south London. The practice was established in 2014 by Al Scott, Sarah Castle and Thomas Bryans.

Their design, ‘After Image’ responds to the solidity and monolithic nature of Sir John Soane’s gallery building, and the porous, ever-changing nature of the landscape. A series of translucent mirrored screens – some fixed, some moveable – reflect and disrupt the context. The lightweight structure also features a timber truss roof overlaid with a mesh veil to create a canopy-like environment that enhances the layering of images and the interplay of space, perception and memory.

Al Scott, Director at IF_DO said: “Being selected for the Dulwich Pavilion gives us a really exciting opportunity to create an inspirational structure for the London Festival of Architecture. Blurring the boundary between gallery and landscape, the pavilion creates a heightened sensory experience through a series of unfolding, translucent mirrored screens, inspired by the work of Sir John Soane.”

The partnership between Dulwich Picture Gallery and the London Festival of Architecture gave emerging architects an opportunity to create a response to the original Gallery building – an innovative design by Sir John Soane and extended by Rick Mather – and its beautiful garden setting.

IF_DO overcame competition from a field of 75 entries, and at the final selection stage were shortlisted alongside Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Pernilla Ohrstedt and a collaboration between Tom Benton Architects, Hayatsu Architects and MJ Wells.

The competition was judged by a panel of leading architectural and cultural figures including:

  • Ian A C Dejardin (Sackler Director, Dulwich Picture Gallery)
  • Kirsten Dunne (Senior Cultural Strategy Officer, Greater London Authority) Nancy Durrant (Arts Commissioning Editor, The Times)
  • Ruth Rogers (Chef and founder, River Café)
  • Tamsie Thomson (Director, London Festival of Architecture) Carl Turner (Founder and Director, Carl Turner Architects) Mike Hussey (Chief Executive, Almacantar)

Commenting on IF_DO’s winning entry, panel member Carl Turner said: “Simple but sophisticated, edgy but engaging, IF_DO’s pavilion has many layers, but most importantly is conceived as an attractor for a new audience, designed to reach out to a wider public helped all the more that the practice are based in neighbouring Camberwell.’

Ian A C Dejardin, Sackler Director of Dulwich Picture Gallery, said: “I am delighted to be able to report that emerging talent in architecture is flourishing – this was no easy choice. IF_DO dazzled, however, with their thoughtful, thought-provoking concept, harmonizing in subtle ways with Sir John Soane and his great building, playing games with image and reflection, evoking the loveliness of the garden and its trees. Children will want to play in it; adults will want to stop and think; performers will revel in it. I congratulate them and the other young architects who entered the competition with such enthusiasm, dedication and hard work.”