Originally located in a small square within the Southbank arts complex, Sclera was open to the public at all times of the day and night. The closely packed frames of tulipwood incorporated both floor and roof elements, and formed an oval-shaped building in plan. With its floor raised above the surrounding pavement, its interior was accessible by a circular threshold space at one end of the oval.
The main circular space was also positioned on the long axis, with side walls that were, in turn, partially and more completely open. These openings provided intriguing glimpses of the interior from ground level, and from within, due to the elevated floor, they provided privileged views of the surrounding context. The curve of the suspended ceiling in the main space, which could also be seen through the larger opening, suggested the visual qualities of the eye itself.
“The tulipwood timber really brings out series of positive and negative forms together. The architecture looks opaque and solid as you approach it and you think it’s a sealed room and it dissolves as you enter it and you realise that it is a moment where your heightened feeling of light and of air are brought more into the fore and the visual world is taken away from you,” says Sir David Adjaye.
More than a decade later, the Design Museum presents a new exhibition that explores the role of monuments and memorials in the 21st century, through seven projects by Sir David Adjaye OBE, including a rebuilt segment of the Sclera pavilion. Find out more at events.
“We are delighted that Sir David Adjaye OBE has selected Sclera as one of the monuments to be included in the Design Museum's exhibition. Sclera was our first structural experiment with American tulipwood, as well as our first collaboration with the London Design Festival. We have since gone on to push the species’ boundaries through research and various other landmark projects with LDF," says David Venables, European Director of AHEC.