Shrine to Spain
Fred A. Bernstein -- Interior Design, 7/1/2005 12:00:00 AM
At the 2005 World Expo, which runs for 185 days in Aichi, Japan, national pavilions aren't individual architectural extravaganzas but simple, warehouse-style buildings that get recycled when the show closes on September 25. Most of the 122 participating countries focus on creating welcoming interiors behind the buildings' bland facades. But for Spain's pavilion, architects Farshid Moussavi and Alejandro Zaera-Polo honed in on an exterior wall. The pavilion's theme is "Sharing the Art and Wisdom of Life," with the Christian cathedral as a central image. The husband-and-wife team, principals of Foreign Office Architects, tapped into Zaera-Polo's heritage, as he was born and schooled in Madrid. Along the wall, the pair stacked thousands of brightly hued, six-sided earthenware blocks that were made in Spain and transported to Aichi. The hexagons recall both the intricate geometric surfaces of Spain's Moorish architecture and the traceries of its gothic cathedrals. But unlike their medieval forebears, who repeated patterns ad infinitum, the architects went for irregular shapes, creating a facade that never repeats and suggesting the random patterns found in nature—and in life.