Spanish Pavillion and Expo
RIBA Worldwide Award 2005
Location: Aichi, Japan
Client: SEEI (Spanish Society of International Exhibitions)
Date: 2005 Completion
Total Area: 2,400m2
Budget: £5.2 million
FOA Partner in charge: Alejandro Zaera-Polo
Project Architect: Kensuke Kishikawa
Competition stage: Nerea Calvillo, Kensuke Kishikawa
Design stage: Nerea Calvillo, Kensuke Kishikawa, Kenichi Matsuzawa
Construction stage: Izumi Kobayashi, Kenichi Matsuzawa
Contents: Ingenia Qed, Sevilla
Project Manager: Inypsa
This pavilion, which represented Spain in the Aichi International Exhibition in Japan in 2005, aimed to exploit cultural hybridisation as a central theme in Spanish history. Spain’s cultural tradition grew from the hybridisation of the Jewish-Christian cultures which formed Europe as well as the Islamic occupation of the Iberian Peninsula between the 8th and 15th centuries. The pavilion was an opportunity to explore the architectural potential of this specific historical legacy.
Arches, vaults, lattices and traceries were identified as belonging to both Islamic and Christian cultures. The Pavilion was conceived as a lattice envelope enclosing a series of interconnected vaulted spaces or “chapels”, each constructed as a vaulted bubble, as a re-interpretation of ornate gothic vaults and Islamic domes. The envelope of the pavilion explored a re-interpretation of the traditional lattice elements, very common in Spanish architecture reflecting the fusion between Christian and Islamic architecture.
The lattice enclosed an interstitial space to host the circulation space of the pavilion, and this interstitial space in turn resonated with the Japanese context of the Pavilion: “engawa”, an in-between space present in traditional Japanese architecture. The innovative feature of the lattice was its non-repetitive pattern achieved through the use of six hexagonal tile pieces, each different, and coded with six different colour that resonated with many elements distinctive of the Spanish culture: wine, roses, blood (bullfights), sun, sand… The combination of geometrical variety and colour resulted in an apparently non-repetitive pattern, maximising the visual effects of the pavilion.