Architecture Program


Date of this Version

Spring 5-9-2009

Document Type



Within the culture I have grown up in, most building types possess and conform to a standard. The standard has an aesthetic appearance, a certain scale, and possibly the most

relevant at this time, a predetermined place in society. Schools, fast food restaurants and homes are identifiable at a level far from an architectural standpoint. Thus, the designer is prompted with a range of decisions from conformation to innovation. Most of the people within these cities accept and favor the sense of familiarity. Conclusions and arguments form why our culture is inclined this way [comfort, control, societal hierarchy], and to the positive or negative values. This past year the chance to experience something outside of this, challenging expectations and cultural understanding, presented itself.

As a graduate studying architecture, the goal is to learn something that surpasses factual history; proportions and precedents to better inform personal design beliefs and methods. Acquiring an understanding of culture, of the users possibly interacting with self-authored design and what makes a structure of value to be such a historic precedent are what hold interest. The vehicle used to stand on the outside of the American culture at hand, began with the Hannover Architectural Exchange Program in Hannover, Germany during my fourth year of architecture school. Traveling to a number of countries and residing in Germany for over four months truly challenged the mind set of a designer, specifically regarding people. The application of what was learned is the core of this terminal project.

In the summer of 2000, the World’s Fair was held in Hannover. The infrastructure built to support this event has had a significant impact on the city. Upon visiting the exposition’s

museum and the remaining pavilions a need to explore why the closing of something so vibrant could result in quite the opposite. To the point, the site is now desolate and barren. Certain structures that were the standpoint of design are now vacant. Some have been adapted to other parallel functions the city has needed in the following years. Others more temporary in initial construction and design are completely erased. Even yet, pavilions once in Germany are now located in the countries they once represented.

“World’s Fairs have excited and inspired millions of people around the world by expressing the hopes and desires of their times… [to] provide a fascinating glimpse into reality… [to] allow people to explore the world outside of their everyday experience –

outside cultures, new scientific advancements, and new inventions,” outlines the Expo’s vision of these events. It also articulates the value of participating in a culture other than your own. All of these relationships to event, user, and pavilion are unique to this international event. They also display what is inevitable to many cultures: change, adaptation, and reuse. Identifying with other previous ‘blind’ visits to World’s Fair sites [Chicago, New York City, Milan, Paris, Philadelphia, San Diego, and Seattle] stabilized the

unique cultural crossing of this international event.

Directed to the project’s anticipated path, learning from other building types that embody a culture is significant. Capitol buildings and embassies do this, in showing what and how a country represents itself. A key aspect to these and what a pavilion speaks to is the design solution does not situate itself as idealistic. What it displays is something infinite and intangible, highlighted against the contrast of structures conceived in only a functional sense. More significant is that it expresses the culture it is extracted from, and at the same time acknowledges the one it is placed into. This duality is intriguing on many different levels of not only design, but of personal cross-cultural interaction with the furthering of a world in cohesive communication.

In a critical mind set, exploring this translation of culture into architecture lays out a palette to expand from. Utilizing the contrast of the United States to another culture [European Union] will help facilitate the understanding of elements that may lend themselves to design decisions. Thinking about how history, tradition and even expectations collectively form the culture and formally represent it, is additionally essential. Many formal comparisons are relevant in the constant processing of macro and micro, country and individual visitor exploring the pavilion’s familiar or previously removed essence.

To continue in support that a cultural building cannot encase an ideal, architectural methods should be equivalent in nature. For example, a design solution that embodies a transitory and personal nature, displays a certain sense of humility. Or the emphasis upon the architecture as a backdrop allowing what culture is about, those who build it to become emphasized. Perception plays contribution to how a user views a structure, throughout time. These building types [pavilions, embassies and capitol buildings] may be acknowledged as fluid aspects of a city during daylight. In contrast, they may become invisible or an illuminated mark on the skyline overnight.

Relevant, critical standpoints [i.e. the aforementioned role of architecture in a pavilion] and guiding principles will effectively steer research and design phases. The constant relationship of concrete decisions and abstract intentions are a part of this. Additionally, the initial analysis of a culture’s materiality has great impact. Though the evaluation of popularity, ease or what is greatest in quantity is not the most meaningful goal. Extracting the core of what forms a significant aspect of a culture may not literally manifest itself in each or any instance. This is what is important, the motive and reason of each action and element.

The stance of what these building types actually do is necessary. Are they to be showing the past or what should have been? If not a direct correlation, then this removal, this gap must be conscious. Symbolism compared to replacement or representation holds a different, often negative connotation. Thus, this may not be what a pavilion should be intended to be. It may instead seek the infinite and real culture, from origin to future.

Referring to these other structures helps guide the scale of what is in the past and what is real-time. An embassy, a politically based structure, leans to this reality. A capitol building is expected to embody even more. But the pavilion, in its nature is open. If one stands alone, the environment is different than being in relation to another. The people and their desires become primary and the architecture becomes a visitor. In this way the user is, at a

minimum, aware of their changing interactions and reactions. With no agenda or standard that a school, fast food restaurant, or home has, allows this passiveness.

In conclusion, this careful placement of a pavilion and its visitors still has some expectations. To be in the highest potential the aforementioned event of the World’s Fair is given. Located in Zaragoza, Spain in 2008 [“Water and Sustainable Development]”, Shanghai, China in 2010 [“Better City – Better Life”], and Yeosu, South Korea in 2012 [“The Living Ocean and Coast: Diversity of Resources and Sustainable activities”]. Due to the present time and value of Zaragoza as research dedication, Shanghai is highlighted. Yet to be determined are other terminal project factors, as the following may be: shall it be in the cleansing interest of the United States, an exploration of specifically what has been communicated, or an additional scenario of more value? At the least this terminal project will embody the experiences apart from the American culture and speak to negative architectural findings within.

The site in Shanghai of the 2010 exposition lends itself to forming the project into something not completely theoretical. With the progression of public information released of Shanghai’s site, a specific outline will follow. Determined is the location upon the Huangpu River in Shanghai mostly over an industrial site on a mostly east-west river bend portion. This introduces elements such as ferry transportation, tunnels, docks, certain security measures, etc. Following history, pavilion sites are not stable with years before the opening ceremony. Thus, specifics of site conditions are open to understanding through removed documentation (with another World’s Fair in between), but highly effective site characteristics are and have been noted.

In regards to the project’s academic Performance Criteria, successfully accomplishing the thirteen identified (and any other necessary) is of importance to the project’s finality. Building upon those skills human behavior, program and design comprehension, other architectural necessities and the foundation a Bachelors of Design in Architecture provides are essential. Those to be discovered and anticipated at the present time include: the learning of new design methods (software and physical building tools) [what the fairs were initially about representing, forward thinking], the use of history in expansion to precedent use [World’s Fair history comprehension over its lifetime], the inclusion of professional and academic persons outside the College of Architecture through formal critiques or personal discussion [the fair is not held by one country, culture nor one profession], the consciousness and preparation of what is to come following [noting a range of projects], as well as the means relative to the finalization of a thesis project.

Pursuit of this project will include a range of design methods. The understanding and adjustments to the fair as a whole and in specific to the pavilion are both factual and conceptual. Analysis of the World’s Fair history will provide a critical stance to future expositions. Overall, this project has the potential to lead itself in both a theoretical and/or physically realized manner.

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