Spanish Pavillion, Miralles Tagliabue EMBT architects

The design brings the traditional Spanish craft of wicker basketwork up to date on the curves of a highly modern pavilion aiming to transform an old tradition into new life. Since winning the competition to design and build spain’s pavilion at the 2010 shanghai expo in January 2007, EMBT has investigated lots of ways to create ‘vegetal’ structures, eventually settling on willow (salix). ‘It is a very deep and beautiful craftsmanship’, Tagliabue says. ‘It is an ancient skill and a magical world’. Essentially the plan is for panels of woven willow stems to be hung as a skin from the bone of steel supports. Tagliabue likes the combination of the easy to build, solid and highly controlled steel structure and the hugely flexible wicker panels which will allow the complex geometry of the drawings to be realised. The pavilion is conceived as a series of baskets, some open at the top and some enclosed, creating a dappled light in courtyards, circulation and multipurpose spaces.


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