Towers over the cube

  • contemporary architecture

The World Universal Exhibition EXPO-2010 started its work on May 1 in Shanghai. A very important date for Russia? The country participated in the prestigious exhibition and had its own pavilion. Twelve white towers with red-gold ornament symbolizing both the rich historical and cultural heritage of the country and concern on the future, openness to new. The pavilion project was designed by Bureau TOTEMENT / PAPER.


Initially the pavilion designed by TOTEMENT / PAPER was an ensemble of more than a dozen towers, but their place in the general composition of the construction changed a few times for the past two years from the date of the contest. In particular, first the architects interpreted the exposition as a ternary space exhibition space of the park at the ground level, common for the three dominants roof and spaces among them. Bottoms of the towers are finished with wood and earthed, symbolizing roots of the Great of the roots of the great power, the top platform joined them and symbolized the triumph of the modern design sand technologies, and space between the green floor and top, surrounded by the towers, was the miniature city for modern people. The concept not only agreed "Expo 2010" motto Better the city, better the life, also reflected the key archetypes of world order to both culture: the Chinese triad Earth, Man, Sky -" Tai Zi "- resembled with the ideas of ancient russy of Earth-Mother and Father-Sky, they created the world. The Russian pavilion also referred to the image of a huge, horizonless country with a lot of nations living on its territory, carefully preserving their traditions - each towers had a national decoration. TOTEMENT / PAPER project attracted the jury by laconism and symbolism of the composition, however the experts doubted it would be possible to construct the project. After the project got the adviser ARUP, the world-famous engineering office, they confirmed it could be built. When the architects began working with the scene-designers, between the two platforms there appeared a cubic volume of 1000 square meters, with exhibitions halls. Its front surface was parted into 1103 pieces - the number of cities in Russia, area of each depended on its population number. Each piece was a screen displaying a film about the city, so the cube front turned into a giant mirror reflecting the "Reality" of Russia. Later the idea was considered , this idea is, unfortunately, was recognized as too extravagant and complicated, but they saved the metaphor of the facade as a mirror - volume of the main exposition hall outside was faced by plastic panels with mirror effect. Thin and movable, they tremble at every flow of wind and the cube is like a living delicate creature hiding embraced by the twelve towers.
Text by: Levon Ayrapetov, Valeria Preobrazhenskaya, Anna Martovitskaya

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