Rainwater storage at centre of new Serpentine Pavilion
The new 2017 Serpentine Pavilion in London's Kensington Gardens has been opened with a below ground water management solution at its heart, provided by sustainable drainage provider SDS.
A dramatic rainwater cascade from the Pavilion’s arching tree-like roof canopy is a central feature of this year’s design by the award-winning Burkina Faso architect Diébédo Francis Kéré, which opens to the public today (23rd June).
The British climate and London’s ever-changing weather patterns influenced Kéré’s creative interpretation of the Serpentine Galleries’ annual commission for a temporary pavilion, as a focal point for one of the top ten most visited architectural design exhibitions in the world.
“At the centre of the Pavilion is a large opening in the canopy, creating an immediate connection with nature. In times of rain, the roof becomes a funnel channelling water into the heart of the structure. This rain collection acts symbolically, highlighting water as a fundamental resource for human survival,” explains Kéré.
During peak summer storms, rainwater is designed to run off the Pavilion’s expansive roof into an open central courtyard, so an underground attenuation solution using GEOlight geocellular storage from SDS was designed by the engineering project team from AECOM.
The roof canopy is supported by a central steel framework and covered with a transparent twin-wall polycarbonate skin. With the roof pitch varying between 5° and 9°, the rainwater is conveyed quickly through a funnel before dropping into the centre of the courtyard.
The water cascades down from the roof onto a publicly-accessible, elliptical-shaped 21m2 area of 130mm-deep cream-coloured granular stone, before being conveyed to the GEOlight storage tank beneath. The underground storage is designed to hold back up to 6,000 litres of water, sufficient to protect against a 1 in 100 year rainfall event. Water is then gravity-fed slowly away via two surface water pipes to an existing soakaway.
AECOM has provided technical advisory services for the Serpentine Pavilion project for the past five years. Principal Engineer, Michael Orr explains: “This is the first time in recent years that a positive drainage design has been required for the Pavilion, as this time rainwater is part of the architectural concept and is featured by being directed into the centre of the structure.
“The architect’s tree-like concept is interpreted by central steel roof supports which required a strong reinforced concrete raft foundation. Also considering the clay ground conditions, it was necessary to design a central attenuation tank to capture rainwater and take it away from the foundations, allowing it to infiltrate slowly into the park’s existing soakaway system.
“GEOlight geocellular storage from SDS was the obvious choice for the water management solution designed by Ulrich Groenewald of the engineering project team from AECOM, in coordination with SDS. We were able to work with the architect to deliver a drainage design that satisfied regulations and reflected our analysis of what rainfall we might expect in the park during the summer months. Now all we need to do is wait for it to rain!”
The Serpentine Pavilion is used as a community hub and café by day and a forum for learning, debate and entertainment by night. Every year the Pavilion is sited on the Serpentine Gallery’s lawn for four months.
SDS Sales and Marketing Director Richard Averley said the company was delighted to have played its part in the project. “The relationship between nature, architecture and public space is central to Francis Kéré’s wonderful design. As is so often the case, it’s the engineering behind the scenes which has enabled a sustainable drainage concept to be realised,” said Averley.
“As the public visit the Pavilion this year to try the café, take part in the activities and summer parties, little will they know that the water management under their feet is helping to make it all possible.”
The Serpentine Pavilion is open to the public between 23 June and 8 October 2017.
- London Assembly passes river restoration motion The London Assembly passed a motion today urging Mayor Boris Johnson to prioritise funding to restore rivers in the... Read More >
- Ambitious SUDS project to protect London from flooding A major sustainable drainage scheme is set to be constructed on London's South Bank as part of efforts to protect the... Read More >
- Thames staff ‘working around the clock' on weather response, says CEO Thames Water chief executive Steve Robertson has defended the company's response to recent cold weather which has resulted... Read More >
- Opinion: Add trees for a future water-friendly landscape The time is now to put trees at the heart of land management policy and reap all the benefits they provide, The Woodland... Read More >
- Opinion: The added benefits of natural flood defences The theme of this year's World Water Day is exploring how we can use nature to overcome the water challenges of the 21st... Read More >
- Interview: Stantec UK MD Cath Schefer After MWH merged into Stantec, the combined business is putting the focus squarely on collaboration and innovation to find... Read More >
- Private drains and sewers transfer - six years on October 2011 marked a major change in the way sewers and drains running from private properties into the public sewer... Read More >
- Clear and consistent guidance for drainage design New guidance for the design of drains and sewers should provide the opportunity for installers to meet consistent... Read More >