Archive for the ‘Civic’ Category

Spanish Pavilion, Expo 2008 – Francisco Mangado


We did not hear too much about Expo 2008 last year in the northern Spainish city of Zaragoza, partly because it was overshadowed by the Olympics in Beijing and also probably because Australia did not participate.

spanish-pav-2The theme chosen for last year was “Water and sustainable development”. The issue of sustainable water supply is directly related to our survival on this driest continent on earth. It was quite curious that Australia decided not to take part in it.

Designed by Francisco Mangado, the pavillion was one of the main focus of the expo. The 750 classical columns made from terracotta were placed around a glass-walled hall. The columns supports a thin roof which acts as solar and water collector.

spanish-pav-1The columns were intended to draw water up with a osmosis process through the clay and the evapouration of this water would cool down the building.

The columns were arranged in a pattern resembling a bamboo forest. The strong Spanish sun cast long and dense shadow to control the heat load. The reflection of the shallow pool gave a sublime sense with the use of water, the theme of the expo.

The use of fluted columns signified the continuity of western architectural traditions into the era of conservations. The tranditional form was transformed into an energy-conserving device. I wonder if the columns had a symbolic meaning that we should look into tranditional ways of living when we fight for the sustainability of life on our planet.

Photographs: (from top to bottom)
arquitextonica @ Flickr (Licenced by Creative Common)
srgblog @ Flickr (Licenced by Creative Common)
pictfactory @ Flickr (Licenced by Creative Common)

Further Reading:
Expo 2008
Francisco Mangado

Posted: 2009/05/09 at 12:04 (26936)

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Green Void – LAVA


I was in the Customs House last weekend. The overwhelming installation “Green Void” by LAVA was still there (until 10 June 2009) and it turned RED.

green-void-31Red lights and green lights indicate the exact opposite at road junctions. In the same sense, the calm, soothing green fabric installation connecting different sides and levels around the huge atrium became red: mysterious and dangerous. Looking through the tube hovering above me, I felt that it could suck me up and throw me out in an alternative universe. Just a change in colour can stir someone’s emotion.

green-void-11Slowly, green bubbles started to appear at the bottom. Were these going to spread and make the whole thing green again?

I suddenly thought of its similarities to the large number of products, building materials and architecture that claimed to be environmentally friendly. Are they truely green? Or is it just a tint of green light shone on a white surface? It might even turn into an opposite colour with a flick of switch by mistake. Many so-called “green” products use a lot energy in production, some “green” buildings requires careful control to work. Architects need to look into all that and make informed choices. Not easy.

Dr. Chatterjee wrote in Architecture Australia (May/June 2009, p.26) “The installation is capable of satifying a casual visitor as well as a highly learned audience.”

This is so true. But am I a casual visitor or a highly learned individual?

I stood there and sank into deep thinking.


Architecture Australia – May/June 2009, p.25-26

Further Reading:
Customs House
360 degree panorama by Peter Murphy

Posted: 2009/05/08 at 0:18 (18369)

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Categories: Civic

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