For the EXPO 2008 the participating countries rented spaces in buildings provided by the organizer. The room made available for the Austrian pavilion had a semi-circular shape. The central idea of the design concept was to double that shape to the figure of a cylinder by using a floor-to-ceiling mirror. This mirror extended along the length of the room and doubled a digital 180° projection on the curved interior wall into a 360° panorama. By means of digital projection the panorama underwent permanent changes.
In terms of building typology the Austrian pavilion transposed the historical panorama building into the present. The viewer’s platform in the middle and the three-dimensionally designed foreground of the historical panorama architecture were merged into a white landscape. This landscape was dissolved into contour lines and became the exhibition area of the pavilion.
The abstract form of the landscape made the exhibition space become part of the changing panoramic projections. Surrounded by mountain tops, it turned into a snow-covered hilltop. The projection of a forest turned it into a green clearing.
The design of the landscape used the concept of reflection through the mirror to create diverse spatial and visual relations and situations. An arena with a pneumatic stage in its centre was created that only became complete in its reflection, a plateau offered the ideal overview onto the pavilion and a hollow way avoided the doubling effect of the mirror. One space was located behind the level of the mirror, only accessible through an opening in the mirror itself.
For the visitors the landscape like designed exhibition space was a stage set to walk on. The visitor became part of this stage setting, as he moved through the pavilion on the exhibition area. By means of mirroring the room, the visitor and his reflection were an integral part of and an actor in the panorama setting.
In the exhibition space of the pavilion works of various artists were shown dealing with the theme of the EXPO 2008 “Water and Sustainability”, reaching from sculpture, digital art and dance performances to music. The exterior façade of the pavilion also dealt with the topic of Landscape and Spectator, showing an image of the photographer Walter Niedermayr.Location: Zaragoza, Spain Architect: SOLID architecture | Michael Strauss and Scott Ritter Project name: Austrian Pavilion
Competition:first prize in open, two-stage competition
Spatial programme: Austrian Pavilion with foyer, shop, exhibition space, VIP lounge, staff- and service area
Project management: Arch. DI Christoph Hinterreitner
Assisted by Arch. DI Christine Horner
Client: Austrian Chamber of Commerce
Structural Engineering: RWT PLUS ZT GmbH
Building Physics: RWT PLUS ZT GmbH
General Contractor: Nüssli AG
Project photographer: Günter Kresser