Spanish Pavilion for Shanghai World Expo 2010

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Spanish Pavilion for Shanghai World Expo 2010

The architects, Miralles-Tagliabue EMBT, have designed the Spanish Pavilion for the Shanghai World Exposition 2010.
The architect, Benedetta Tagliabue, has directed the structurally innovative project, which combines a modern steel frame with a traditional wicker material on the exterior facade. There is also another new element to this facade: the panels have been arranged to form a series of Chinese characters in a way that is similar to that of a mosaic, with references to natural elements, such as ri (sun) or yue (moon).

It was possible to create these characters through the natural darkening of the wicker when it is boiled. The Chinese characters that have been composed on the facade speak of the harmony between China and Spain, in reference to the exchange of Eastern and Western culture between the two countries. Amongst the symbols are references to nature, as well as the sun and the moon, two fundamental concepts in oriental philosophy of how the functioning of the world is reliant upon a duality.

Benedetta Tagliabue has incorporated these elements in the poetical reading of the connection between China and Spain, expressing a message of the strong relationship to be had in their futures that will be picked up by the wind and spread throughout the country. The symbols are not always visible, but are conveyed through the brilliance experienced every moment during the day and the gentle rippling of the facade plays with this expression, communicating the message to those approaching the pavilion.

Advanced Technology and Tradition

The building by Benedetta Tagliabue, 7,624 m2, constructed in a plot of 6,000 m2, combines the sustainability of 8.200 wicker panels and a scientific and technologically advanced structure of steel and glass.

The tubular metal structure required advanced technology to meet the complex geometry and experimentation in the approach. This was provided with the experienced engineer Julio Martí­nez Calzón from MC2. The building is characterized by its curved form, requiring a structural system that could be adapted to meet its specific needs.

Wicker is a traditional and sustainable material that has been reinvented in this pavilion. Each handmade panel was produced in a manner traditional to both China and Spain. Each of the 8,200 panels that compose the façade have been transported from the province of Shandong (North-East of China) to be strung together, one by one, to 25 kilometers of tubular steel.


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