Austrian pavilion at Shanghai Expo 2010
by SPAN and Zeytinoglu

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Shanghai Expo 2010: Here are some photos of the completed Austrian pavilion by Viennese architects SPAN and Zeytinoglu, which opens at Shanghai Expo 2010 this weekend.

The pavilion is covered in more than ten million hexagonal ceramic tiles, merging from white to red over its surface.

More information about the design in our earlier story.

See all our stories about Shanghai Expo 2010 in our special category.

Photographs are by Maria Ziegelböck.

The information below is from the architects:


Futuristic Elegance: Austrian Pavilion at Expo 2010 Shanghai Architecture and Design by SPAN & Zeytinoglu

On May 1, the Expo 2010 will open in Shanghai, China. The Austrian pavilion by Viennese architects SPAN & Zeytinoglu provides visitors with a manifold and complex spatial experience.

The concept also comprises the entire interior design and essential parts of the interior fittings. Both the building and the design objects are based on sophisticated digital models. Thanks to comprehensive logistics, the construction on site ran smoothly and within budget.

The Austrian pavilion by Vienna-based architects SPAN & Zeytinoglu causes quite a sensation in Shanghai. “We are glad that is was erected precisely according to our plans”, says architect Arkan Zeytinoglu. Enrobed in ten million porcelain tiles, the pavilion takes the form of a seamlessly shimmering building, spectacularly reconciling elegant with futuristic elements.

In the designing and planning phases, SPAN & Zeytinoglu predominantly work with digital models, a method allowing them to integrate e.g. achievements of topology, the exploration of complex curved geometries.

“The Austrian pavilion directly reflects this practice”, explains Sandra Manninger of SPAN: “Its organic, curvilinear forms and the continuous flow between spaces base on natural geometric systems.”

Symbiosis of Architecture and Design

Based on the design methodology for the Pavillion, SPAN & Zeytinoglu also developed the entire interior design including the restaurant, the shop and the VIP area in addition to the exhibition space and the office area. As part of the interior fittings, the team designed the restaurant and the VIP bar, the shop desk, the info desk, the modular lounge in the VIP area and the reception desk in the VIP lobby. “Although the objects have a value of their own, their integration into the architecture is essential: Spaces and objects form a symbiosis and enhance each other”, explains Matias del Campo from SPAN. The design objects are made from CNC-milled polyurethane and coated with synthetic resin. CNC (Computer Numerical Control) is a technology originally developed for the aviation industry, enabling the precise construction of digitally generated, complex curved objects.

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Ten Million Porcelain Tiles

More than ten million tiles cover the pavilion’s facade, a porcelain skin gradually changing from red to white. The cladding of the complex curved surface wrapping the entire building and the roof was made possible by the selection of very small hexagonal modules. The result is what appears to be a smooth, seamless surface, regardless of its opposite nature: 60 million joints result in a regular distribution of the building hull’s tension forces. The design also alludes to the tradition of Chinese porcelain exports to Europe.

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Largest Expo of all Times

The design by SPAN and Zeytinoglu was the unanimous choice of the jury in a pan- European competition held in 2008. This gave the architects an opportunity to render the cultural identity of Austria tangible in a global context. It is the first expo operated by China. With more than 240 participating countries, a budget of three billion Euros and no less than 70 million visitors it is the largest World Exposition ever.


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  • peeween

    Woooohoooooooo!! how great is thaaaat Pavilion!!

  • Meiko Matsuda

    I see Z..A..H..A.. similing. Imitation is the greatest compliment.

  • ant

    Zaha?! is that you…in disguise?

  • visualmess

    looks weird. the form is not thought through. i expected more from the austrians.

  • mister f

    a big mistake is to punch 101 holes in the ceeling for lighting…
    maybe some ambiental lights, some diffuse light, a lot of possibilities instead of straight down reflectors

  • Tomchitecture

    I saw stuff like this as experiments in books in school. It was mind-blowing then that people were even conceiving of architecture this way. This is not only a wonderful realization of some of that which I thought to be impossible or impractical, but taken to the next level. In a word… Amazing. Well done, inside and out.

  • Bozo

    All these pavillions are naff. What is this meant to say about Austria.
    It doesnt look like Zaha, it looks like Maya or Rhino. There is an inherent geometry and form in digital modeling techniques, I doubt Zaha even knows how to turn the computer on, to keep crediting her with this form is as naff as this pavillion. The quill and ink pot is coming back.

  • tim

    I got 99 problems and they are all architecture

  • ste

    outside is really nice… the inside indead is a boring zaha copy with out her sensibility for different spatial qualities.

  • yim

    Comparing this Pavillion to Zaha Hadid is an injustice to SPAN + Zeytinoglu.

  • nas

    why is anything with curved surfaces, always resonating Zaha???
    I really do not understand. I think at least this was a good attempt for the visionary architects… The heart of the plan shows an interesting movement

  • PETE

    vvvrrrrrmmm vvvrrrrrmmm

  • http://www.gt2p.com Willy

    Congratulations to Span and Matias del Campo.

  • well

    blood, isn,t it?

  • Johan

    only the gradient is a bit messy, but otherwise nice job Span!

  • terox

    o.k. BUT what happened to the gradient? looks very cheap. also the interior reminds me of a 90ies vision of how people would live in the year 2005.

  • GOsh

    I have to agree with the gradient comments, the length of the gradient does not justify anything? its as though it was never there.? Ideas for flow were fantastic but for some areas like those experimental curves could have been minimize? As i feel they’re a case of over design

  • jane

    its a car, isn’t it?

  • hannjupp

    The architecture is a blender ! The interior is the worst on whole Expo.
    The snow area does not work and the projections are much to weak. The ballroom is only a white hall and you can see the cables of every insatlled beamer. Poor design…

  • lukasz

    definitely, best pavilion on expo