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el mar, la mar.. 

Proposal for the Spanish Pavilion at Osaka Expo, Japan, 2023


Universal exhibitions are occasions for celebration and opportunities for the meeting of nations that, under the same motto, share traditions, experiences and visions of the future. Expo 2025 in Osaka is proposed to be held at Yumeshima (“The Island of Dreams”), a 390-hectare artificial island located in Osaka Bay, where participating countries are called to reflect on how to “Design the society of future for our lives.” The Spanish Pavilion will be located within the "Pavilion World", under the subtheme "Connecting Lives", and therefore has the task of responding to this thematic axis through its architecture and contents. The entire site will be surrounded by a “Grand Ring”, the largest wooden structure built in the world, which will have a perimeter of 2 km and a variable height between 12 and 20m. The Spanish Pavilion dialogues with this structure, creating a meeting space between the two, a prelude to a building that intends to attract visitors naturally and embark them on an unforgettable journey through the waves that the country of Spain navigates.

"el mar, la mar" (mar - sea), is the common thread of the proposal. The sea that connects lives and identifies us, and that also historically connects Spain with other cultures, including the Japanese. The initial idea revolves around sea encompassing. A concept as simple as it is illustrative: packaging the virtues of the Spanish sea and exhibiting it in Osaka. It is a permeable, light and balanced pavilion, which builds a dynamic and immersive visit - an ideal showcase for the blue economy, tourism and gastronomy of Spain. Following the thematic guides proposed for the pavilion, we use water, and waves specifically, as a symbol of the constant change that society is experiencing. It is water, as an essential resource, and waves, as an image of movement, that organize the content of the exhibitions and the circulation of visitors through the building. Its presence in the exterior and interior spaces qualifies the environments and participates in the different experiences offered in the pavilion. The Spain-Japan connection is manifested in the pavilion on multiple scales.and are expressed in the proposed spaces and contents, creating emotional links between and with visitors. 

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The pavilion is planned as a meeting place, a game of balanced elements that rest on top of each other, creating supports for the various programs that the building will house. Spaces are fluid, mostly open, interconnected with each other, which invite visitors to explore freely. The pavilion section plays with different heights that help organize uses and manage these flows. The ground floor, more public and open, allows large groups of people to be sheltered. It also houses the most commercial programs such as the shop and the tapas bar, connected to the outdoor open spaces. On the upper floors, the restaurant and the exhibition and event rooms organize the sequence of immersive experiences that offer visitors knowledge of the country. A circular water circuit, which includes pools, canals, fountains, waterfalls and vaporized clouds, articulates the routes. Water flows along the pavilion, accumulates and is recirculated, guaranteeing maximum use that, in addition to contributing to the efficiency of the system, highlights the urgency of using this resource in a responsible manner. 

The pavilion is developed as a complex with modular systems and combines wood, steel and glass, is designed for manufacturing in Spain and assembly on site. This strategy makes it possible to control the deadlines, the price, and the quality of the construction in a precise manner, and proposes recyclable elements for later reuse, an essential feature of the project.

Model Studies

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Model making process


Project Views

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Entrance view (towards Grand Roof ring side)

Outdoor spaces are a fundamental part of the visitor experience. The pavilion is proposed as a very porous volume that dilutes the boundary between inside and outside. The ground floor, in particular, offers multiple covered outdoor areas that encourage the movement of people. The vegetation is part of the exhibition experience, revealing the different Spanish climates and their landscapes, from the most mountainous ones found on the north façade, to the more Mediterranean ones located to the south, around the wave garden.

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Reception and Information area

The exhibition is the central focus of the pavilion, and also the one that is most evident outside. The itinerary begins in the entrance or arrival area, on the ground floor, where the visitor will be immersed in the theme of the exhibition and Spanish culture. From this point, by means of panoramic elevators or escalators, you go up to the 3rd floor, the highest, to begin a descending journey like a waterfall with each level amplifying the theme. 

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Upper exhibition Area

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Lower exhibition area

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Commercial Area

The commercial spaces are arranged at the most public accessible and an urban level, contributing to its dynamism and activity. A transition space between the Entrance Hall and the Garden of Waves, and which is part of the central access. A space that continues to be informative, that complements the exhibitions and that also connects with the Tapas Bar and the different outdoor spaces.

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Stage and Multipurpose area

 The Multipurpose Room and the Stage are proposed as complementary to the main exhibition and can be added to the exhibition route or made completely independent for a differentiated use. Both are located on the 2nd floor, in visual relationship with the exhibition areas and with the restaurant, located one floor below; and perfectly connected to the kitchen and storage area for greater versatility. Its location, connection with the different circulations of the pavilion and equipment, allow it to host a multitude of events and shows. They are flexible spaces in the way they close or open to the rest of the pavilion and have independent staircases and elevators. In addition to these spaces, and due to the building's own spatial configuration, it is possible to hold events or performances in various places in the pavilion.

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Wave Garden, Restaurant and Tapas bar

The Wave Garden concludes and restarts both the visit to the pavilion and the cycle of water through the building. It is our "tsukubai", a container to hold water on which a continuous current falls in a regenerative way. In this case, our wave garden receives water from rainwater drainage systems and is also an attraction for visitors. This garden connects with the Spanish and Japanese traditions of incorporating water as a backbone and environmental element, while using Spanish technology of international projection for the simulation of waves.

Project Drawings


Project Plans

Project Sections and Elevations


Project Componentization

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