EMBT: spanish pavillion at shanghai expo 2010
nov 09, 2009
EMBT: spanish pavillion at shanghai expo 2010

spanish pavillion for shanghai 2010
image courtesy miralles tagliabue EMBT

miralles tagliabue EMBT have been awarded the prize for the top future project at
the world architecture festival 09, for their design of the spanish pavillion.

their project brings the traditional spanish craft of wicker basketwork up to date on
the curves of a highly modern pavilion aiming 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.

image courtesy miralles tagliabue EMBT

model of the pavillion
image courtesy miralles tagliabue EMBT

image courtesy miralles tagliabue EMBT

image courtesy miralles tagliabue EMBT

construction has begun for the pavillion
image courtesy miralles tagliabue EMBT

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