Argentina has launched an international contest for its national pavilion at Expo 2023 Buenos Aires (Deadline: 8 July)
The anonymous two-stage competition – organised by the country’s Central Society of Architects – invites architects to propose a landmark Argentine Pavilion which will form the centrepiece of Expo 2023 and respond to its theme of Science, Innovation, Art and Creativity for Human Development.
The call for concepts is the first in a series of six open competitions which will be held for prominent commissions on the 25 hectare expo site which has been masterplanned by Argentine architects Gustavo Mozzi and Hernán Vela. Other contests due to launch in the coming weeks will focus on a mini stadium, two international pavilions, an urban landmark, and a public boulevard and bridge.
Contest site: Expo 2023
According to the brief: ‘The Argentine pavilion is the first of six international competitions of ideas. It must represent the federal concept of the Expo host country. This pavilion will also symbolize and embrace the value of the different cultural, touristic, artistic, technological and scientific expressions emerging in Argentina.
‘The design must contemplate innovation in technology, sustainability, new sources of energy and an adequate and rational materialization. Furthermore, it should allow the development of multiple activities simultaneously and maximize the spaces that relate them with the objective of giving the visitors an integral experience.’
Located on the South American continent’s south eastern coast, Buenos Aires is the largest and capital city of Argentina. The city won its bid to host Expo 2023 two years ago, triumphing over rival offers by Łódź, Poland and Minneapolis, USA.
Buenos Aires is one of the smaller, specialised expositions which traditionally take place two years after the larger universal expositions such as Milan and Dubai. Running from 15 January and 15 April, the event is expected to receive around 9 million visitors and will be the first of its kind hosted in Latin America.
Contest site: Expo 2023
The expo is a themed around creative industries in digital convergence and explores the full depth of creativity – its origins, impact and potential – as one of the fundamental features of humankind.
The event will be held on the 50 hectare site of the existing Tecnopolis exhibition park located within the Villa Martelli area of Vicente López District in the north of the capital city. A 25 hectare segment of park has been earmarked for the expo.
The 7,760m² Argentine Pavilion will feature a dome-shaped room where films will be exhibited using immersive 360° projection technology. Following the expo, the will be transformed into a hub for interactive and immersive displays exploring creativity and knowledge.
The overall winner – due to be announced on 16 July – will receive a ARS$3 million prize while a second prize of ARS$1.2 million and third prize of ARS$600,000 will also be awarded.
How to apply
The deadline for applications is 8 July
Visit the competition website for more Information
Q&A with Hernan Vela
The Expo 2023 masterplanner discusses his ambitions for the competition
Why are your holding an international contest for the Argentine Pavilion at Expo 2023 Buenos Aires?
The Expo 2023 Buenos Aires celebrates human creativity and is interested in the participation of as many talents as possible in order to maximize diversity and creativeness. In the same way, architecture is universal, in the sense that it is an encounter about the human condition. Furthermore, Argentina is a country that has received immigrants from all over the world with open arms. One of the objectives of the pavilion, and of the expo in general, is to celebrate creativity and cultural diversity as key transformation drivers of society and as heritage belonging to all humankind. Architecture is not only as a technical solution for the expo, but part of the theme as it is a creative discipline. Therefore, the pavilion is both a design for the expo and the topic of the expo itself.
We are very proud of the buildings designed by international architects. Throughout history, their work has built part of our country’s legacy: the Colon Theatre by Francesco Tamburini, the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange by Alejandro Cristophersen, Oaks House by Antonio Bonet, who, along with Kurchan and Ferrari, in addition to projecting the ateliers on Suopacha Street, created the BFK chair, exhibited in the MOMA as one of the paradigms of 20th century design. Also, the Curutchet House by Le Corbusier in La Plata, the only house built by the architect in Latin America, directed by Amancio Williams, exponent of the principles of modern movement in our country. Other works include: Mario Botta’s BNL headquarters, Alvaro Siza’s ‘Rosa Ziperovich’ Municipal Centre in Rosario and Rafael Viñoly’s Fortabat Museum. We have recently inaugurated a government building whose design was the result of an international competition won by Norman Foster; this strengthens a tradition that believes in this modality as enriching architecture.
We are also very proud of Argentinian architects who have constructed their projects all around the world, like Cesar Pelli, Emilio Ambazs, Machado+Silvetti and Eduardo Catalano.
Contest site: Expo 2023
What is your vision for the landmark Argentine Pavilion?
The Argentine Pavilion will represent the federal concept of Argentina, along with the diversity of its culture. It will be the scene and meeting point between Argentinians of the different regions that make up our vast territory and then, of course, the visitors who will arrive at the Expo 2023 from all over the world. The pavilion will symbolize and embrace the value of the different cultural, touristic, artistic, technological and scientific expressions emerging in Argentina. After the Expo 2023, the Argentine Pavilion will become a space destined to develop activities related to creativity and knowledge in an interactive and immersive way.
With a site of 7.760sqm, the building will be strategically located in the centre of the Expo and in front of the ceremonial square, with immediate access from the outside and visibility from all grounds. The design must respect and remark the theme of the Expo 2023: address technology innovation, sustainability and an adequate materialization, rationality and relevance of project decisions taken. Within its specific functions, it should include an auditorium, exhibition halls, classrooms and an immersive projection room using full dome 360° technology.
What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?
Above all, we are expecting good architects to apply. The system is organized to equalize large architecture firms with young talented architects: the competitions are anonymous and the presentations do not require much resources. In this way, we believe it is a great opportunity for both large studios and smaller emerging practices.
For the first phase (the competition of ideas), international studios will not need to collaborate with local firms to apply. The only requirement is that at least one person from the team must hold a certified architect title from anywhere in the world. For the second phase, the construction of the pavilion, the winning team will need to register a team member as an architect in Argentina (a simple procedure) or have someone from Argentina registered on their team.
Contest site: Expo 2023
Which other design opportunities are on the horizon and how will the architects/designers be procured?
The Argentine Pavilion is the first of six international competitions of ideas for the Expo 2023. Along with this building, there will be five additional competitions in which the studios can also participate.
The expo is conceived not only as an ephemeral episode, but as an integral proposal that leads to an enduring symbolic and physical legacy, allowing for a great opportunity to continue building Argentina’s footprint. The competitions of ideas will last as an urbanistic layout of an area that integrates the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires and its Metropolitan area, a region that involves nearly sixteen million people. Each competition refers to the construction of both a building for the Expo 2023 and a function for its subsequent legacy:
1. Argentine Pavilion – Space for Creativity and Knowledge (new building), 7.760sqm
2. Mini Stadium and International Pavilion – Events, Shows and Fairgrounds (existing building to intervene), 28.286sqm
3. International Pavilions – Creative Industries Campus (new building), 42.000sqm
4. Communication Antenna and Viewpoint – Urban Landmark (new building)
5. Thematic Pavilions – Space for Creativity and Knowledge (new buildings), 8.114sqm
6. Public Space, Boulevard and Bridge – Metropolitan Park, 95.700sqm
Are there any other national pavilion projects you have been impressed by?
Any national pavilion that embraces the values of architecture with as much creativity as possible is impressive. Among other things, ‘…architecture is a civil duty that relates to mankind, a social duty that concerns society and an ethical duty, as architecture can represent values related to the way we live’ (Mario Botta). Or in Alison Smithson´s words, ‘The functions come to enrich the fabric, and the individual gains new freedom of action through a new and shuffled order.’ Pavilions should embrace diversity and respect for culture, citizens and architecture´s objectives. ‘The objective is not to build more or to improve profit,’ as Oscar Niemeyer said: ‘I do not conceive nor look for an ideal architecture. The day when there is only one architecture, it will be the reign of monotony and repetition.’ Or in the words of Solano Benitez: ‘The objective is to build a better society. If not, we are wasting our time.’