IF_DO completes a reflective Soane-inspired pavilion for the London Festival of Architecture


Joakim Boren

Young practice IF_DO has completed a temporary pavilion within the grounds of the Dulwich Picture Gallery in south London.

The lightweight structure will host events ranging from baby yoga classes to late-night discussions over a four-month period, and was built following a competition initiated by the London Festival of Architecture (1-30 June), with funding by property company Almacantar.


IF_DO’s design draws on the architecture of John Soane’s adjacent picture gallery, providing both echoes of and a counterpoint to its heavyweight, windowless brick facades.


The pavilion’s cantilevering trussed timber roof, edged in a skirt of metal mesh, is held aloft by four slender mirrored panels whose dimensions relate to the gallery’s blind arches. Additional mirrored aluminium panels can be used to reconfigure the pavilion’s plan in numerous ways, including maze-like interconnecting routes with reflective walls, and an eight-by-eight-metre box seating 150.

To achieve the minimal structure envisaged in its competition entry, IF_DO collaborated closely with engineer StructureMode and fabricator Weber Industries.

“The concept derived from the London Festival of Architecture’s theme of memory”, says IF_DO director Al Scott. “We call it ‘after-image’ – we wanted to create reflections that are like snapshots of the building and the landscape together that would otherwise not exist”.


The reflective surfaces appear to increase both the dimensions and volume of the pavilion, and allow the gallery to be seen in new, unexpected ways – fragmented, abstracted, reproduced in ghostly multiples, and recast in strange, borrowed landscapes. These games are themselves a Soanian tribute, says Scott. “He was a master of moving panels, mirrors, drama and playfulness”.

Additional Images


Dulwich Picture Gallery, London Festival of Architecture and Almacantar
Weber Industries
Structural engineer