Past Expos have always been an occasion to produce and show avant gard architecture, new urban plans and city expansion. Some of this architecture, whether good or bad, are considered landmarks if not for their beauty, then certainly for their iconic impression.
It’s impossible not to mention the 1851 Crystal pavilion in London by Joseph Paxton an avant gard structure of the time. Tour Eiffel built in 1889 in Paris is still a symbol of the city. Think of modern classic, and you may well think of the Barcelona pavilion. And how about the german pavilion for the 1929 expo designed by the great german architect Mies van der Rohe? This elegant structure is considered to be one of the Masterpiece of modern movement .
Another very iconic structure is the Atomium for the world expo of 1958 in Bruxelles. Sure, this wasn’t the best architecture of that world expo considering the fact there were such architects as Le Corbusier with Philips Pavilion to compete with, but the Atomium, a 103 meters high steel structure designed by André Waterkeyn, was successfully photogenic and as a result it is still there today; now one of the symbols of Bruxelles together with l’enfant qui pisse.
TheSpace Needle in Seattle designed by John Graham is a 184mt high tower with a restaurant on the top. This is also a symbol of the city; you can see it in almost every episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
Habitat 67 by Moshe Safdie built for Expo 67 in Montreal is widely considered a landmark . This impressive housing complex was an architectural experiment consisting of 158 dwellings made with 354 prefabricated individual containers stacked in a confused order and connected by steel cables. There were 15 different plan types from one to four bedrooms, with many small gardens and decks conceived to give everyone some privacy and fresh air.Moshe Safdie became a very famous architect.
Another example of architecture resembling more sculpture than building is the tower of the sun, still standing in the Expo70 commemorative park. The 65 meter tower with 25 meters long arms was part of the main pavilion. The tower has three faces; the “Golden Mask” on the top, the “Face of the Sun” on the front and the “Black Sun” on the back each one depicting the past, the present and the future. This is one of the most famous work of art created by artist Taro Okamoto.
The Dutch architectural firm MVRDV became famous for the dutch pavilion at the Hannover world expo in 2000. The Dutch pavilion referred to the history of Dutch landscape. The pavilion shows the extreme hypothesis that space can be gained vertically. The structure is in fact characterized by six different dutch landscapes stacked on top of one another.
Even though Seed Cathedral by Thomas Eatherwick at Shangai World’s Expo 2010 was one of the smallest pavilions it was the most indelible. Avoiding a propagandistic pavilion the seed cathedral refers to the greenery of London and to one of the major botanic institutions in the world: the Royal Botanic Garden with its Millenium Seedbank. The structure made by steel and wood is perforated by 60,000 optical tubes seven and half meters long and every tube had a seed in its extremity. The final effect is a gorgeous changing of night and day and movement in the wind like a living organism.