BUILT: bandstand 2011

Bandstand, 2011.
Site: Festival of Britain, Southbank Centre.
Team: Studio Squat* + RIBA.

For the 60th Anniversary of the Festival of Britain this summer, the Southbank Centre and RIBA London commissioned a public structure to be to designed and built by Part I and II students of Architecture from a mix of universities across the nation. The project attempts to echo the efforts of architects Hidalgo Moya, Philip Powell and engineer Felix Samuely, who designed the iconic Skylon for the original festival in 1951, albeit with a gargantuan budget in comparison!

At the start of 2011 Part I students Mark Warren, Digory Macfarlane, and Tim Coles joined Part II students Alex Scott-Whitby, Carla Smyth and Huw Trevorrow to embark on the opportunity of designing a bandstand to host live music and performances throughout the summer period, with students Derek Opara and James Le Ball joining the team to help with the build. Collectively the students are representative of Brighton, Cardiff, London Metropolitan and Manchester Universities.

Working from an office in RIBA London’s headquarters for 2 months, the bandstand team were immersed in every stage of the project from initial ideas, concept development and production of information, to manufacturer research and liaison, design implementation and on-site installation and construction.

‘Having the opportunity to see a public project through from inception to completion, as Part I students, has been such a unique, valued and fun experience I thought not possible in the professions current climate’ – Digory

The student collaboration has resulted in a final design that marries those two most british of structural icons: the bandstand and the maypole, creating a playful aesthetic that also reflects the tensile nature of the Skylon.

The canopy of the bandstand consists of a PVC mesh that is tensioned and attached to a steel ring using the design principals of a trampoline. To introduce the maypole element of the design, a giant column rises from the stage, running past an oculus in the canopy to reach its overall height of 8m. To add to the playful and iconic nature of the design, coloured webbing straps splay outward to the canopy’s edge, twisting and crossing each other as they pull in to meet the centre of the stage. In doing this, the tensioned straps hold the canopy in place with compression. The composition of the straps was designed with children in mind, allowing them to play safely whilst they pull, climb and run in and out of them.

The bandstand will host live performers, public gatherings and playing children until September and hopes to be a major part of the Festival of Britain’s success.

The project would not have been possible without the guidance and expertise of RIBA members Tamsie Thomson and Jing Lu, engineers Davies Maguire + Whitby, and all those roped in to help with construction!











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