Project in Detail
Spanish Pavilion for 2010 Expo Shanghai
Miralles Tagliabue EMBT, BARCELONA, Spain
World Architecture Festival 2009 - Future Project of the Year
exterior view 1
Conceptual Memory – Spanish Pavilion for 2010 Expo Shanghai
It is our ambition for our pavilion to reflect Spain’s weather. To recreate a fantastic craftwork, in order to reinvent a new construction technique.
The last Spanish pavilion in Aichi exhibited a colouristic fantasy typical of Spanish ceramics…
Ours, in Shanghai, aims to play with the incredible potential of the wicker technique.
A global technique and tradition almost identical in the East and West, a common ground between Spain and Shanghai.
Large patios, in the form of wicker baskets, compose our pavilion…
One is open to the outside, attracting visitors and drawing them in.
The others play with the interior-exterior theme.
The exhibition takes place both inside and outside these basket-plazas.
Our pavilion is therefore not a containing box which houses one space, but a series of nearly hybrid spaces which create an easy and fluent transit.
We enter a building which is conscious of ecologic and sustainable issues…
Light reaches the interior having been filtered by the wall structures, made of wicker and steel.
Benedetta Tagliabue January 2008
Explanatory text – Spanish Pavilion for 2010 Expo Shanghai – extracted from RIBA Journal February 2009. Author: Eleanor Young
Bringing the traditional Spanish craft of wicker basketwork up to date on the curves of a highly modern pavilion aims to transform an old tradition into new life.
“An expo is about national identity and about knowing and mixing”, says architect Benedetta Tagliabue. “So we would like some of the pavilion made in Spain and some in China or Asia. Wicker technology is the same across the world”.
Since winning the competition to design and build Spain’s pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai Expo in January 2007, EMBT has investigated lots of ways to create “vegetal” structures, eventually settling on willow (salix). The research has taken EMBT to factories in Germany and artisans in Spain. “It is a very deep and beautiful craftsmanship”, Tagliabue says. “It is an ancient skill and a magical world. They go through the complete process from harvesting to selling the wicker product”. Pont de Querós in Barcelona has been involved in discussions and development prototypes from an early stage.
Essentially the plan is for panels of woven willow stems to be hung as a skin from the bones of steel supports. Tagliabue likes the combination of the easy to build, solid and highly controlled steel structure and the hugely flexible wicker panels which will allow the complex geometry of the drawings to be realised. The pavilion is conceived as a series of baskets, some open at the top and some enclosed, creating a dappled light in courtyards, circulation and multipurpose spaces.
EMBT wants to keep the junction between the steel frame and willow panels as simple as possible, especially as the panels are likely to have to be produced by different artisans, and the weave is being kept simple – the pattern based on the arrangement of panels. EMBT’s design is based on different Chinese characters. It will be impossible to read but for the subliminal text will talk about “maximum systems” such as the moon, sun and sky. The colours of the wicker –from the red brown to white – will be achieved by the treatments it would naturally go though: stripping, maintaining the skin, or treating it to make it more durable.
Miralles Tagliabue EMBT