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Competition: Mini-Stadium and International Pavilion, Expo 2023

Argentina has launched an international contest for a Mini-Stadium and International Pavilion at Expo 2023 Buenos Aires (Deadline: 15 July)

The anonymous two-stage competition – organised by the country’s Central Society of Architects – seeks conceptual proposals to transform and upgrade an existing Mini-Stadium and International Pavilion for Expo 2023 which will focus on the theme of Science, Innovation, Art and Creativity for Human Development.

The call for concepts is the second 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 additional international pavilions, an urban landmark, and a public boulevard and bridge. A contest for the Argentine Pavilion was launched last week. 

Contest site: Expo 2023

Contest site: Expo 2023

Contest site: Expo 2023

According to the brief: ‘For the Expo, the existing Mini-Stadium, with a capacity of 7,500 spectators, must be updated to host new events, complying with improved acoustic and technological standards. The design must provide maximum flexibility of uses along with the possibility of subdividing the space to carry out simultaneous events.

‘The International Pavilion will meanwhile provide a flexible space to host the stands of the different participating countries. Its design must comprise both a change of external appearance and a technological update of the building. Its current useable area will increase through the introduction of intermediate structures, or mezzanines, organized with a free plan so as to allow different configurations of the space.’

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

Contest site: Expo 2023

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 latest competition involves transforming an existing Mini-Stadium into a 10,900m² arena capable of hosting various events simultaneously during the expo. A neighbouring International Pavilion building will meanwhile be updated and reconfigured to provide a flexible venue hosting different coutries’ stalls. 

The overall winner – due to be announced on 23 July – will receive a ARS$400,000 prize while a second prize of ARS$180,000 and third prize of ARS$90,000 will also be awarded.

How to apply

Deadline

The deadline for applications is 15 July

Contact details

Email: secretaria@socearq.org

Visit the competition website for more Information

Q&A with Hernan Vela

The Expo 2023 masterplanner discusses his ambitions for the competition

Hernan Vela

Hernan Vela

Hernan Vela

What is your vision for the landmark mini stadium and international pavilion?

The Mini-Stadium and International Pavilion competition involves an intervention on two existing buildings and a foyer that connects their entrances. The functionality of both buildings will be adapted thanks to the flexibility of their interior layouts. Furthermore, their design must be governed by the concept of sustainable creativity, a premise which will apply throughout the whole Expo. Sustainability is an essential part of all competitions and it is one of the reasons that the reuse of existing resources, in this case the buildings, is encouraged. The design and arrangement of the pavilions will seek a balance between rationality, coherence and rational use of resources in construction, so as to minimise any negative environmental impact.

For the Expo, the existing Mini Stadium (10,900sqm), with a capacity of 7,500 spectators, must be updated to host new events, complying with improved acoustic and technological standards. The design must provide maximum flexibility of uses along with the possibility of subdividing the space to carry out simultaneous events.

The International Pavilion (17,486sqm) will meanwhile provide a flexible space to host the stands of the different participating countries. Its design must comprise both a change of external appearance and a technological update of the building. Its current surface will increase through the introduction of intermediate structures, or mezzanines, organized with a free plan so as to allow different configurations of the space.

After the Expo, the Mini-Stadium will continue as a space for various events and the International Pavilion will become a Convention Centre.

Contest site: Expo 2023

Contest site: Expo 2023

Contest site: Expo 2023

Where will the buildings sit within the masterplan for the wider site?

The Mini-Stadium and the International Pavilion are part of a masterplan that includes five additional international competitions for the Expo 2023. Both buildings are located along the main boulevard, a central axis that organises the site and connects various outdoor activities including the site for the last of the six international ideas competitions.

Specifically, the Mini-Stadium, a space for shows and events, is located in front of the ceremonial square, which is an open space in the boulevard earmarked for the convergence for visitors and also outdoor shows. This allows for a strategic approach to consider both interior and exterior spaces as a single system of events of variable sizes and qualities.

On one side of the Mini-Stadium is the International Pavilion, which is also near the antenna and viewpoint of the Expo. The is the focus of the fourth ideas competition which will result in an urban landmark in the form of a telecommunication antenna and a pedestrian route crowning the boulevard on the opposite side of the main entrance. The route could also potentially serve the foyer that connects the International Pavilion and the Mini-Stadium.

On the other side of the Mini-Stadium is another International Pavilion, a new building which will be the result of the third ideas competition. Crossing the ceremonial square, in front of these pavilions and the Mini-Stadium, is the Argentine Pavilion (the subject of the first competition launched last week). This national pavilion is located in direct relation to the square and next to the Thematic Pavilions, which will also be the subject of a future competition to express the theme of the Expo: Creative Industries in Digital Convergence.

How will this competition pose a rewarding challenge for architects?

The Expo is conceived not only as an ephemeral episode, but as an integral proposal that leads to an enduring symbolic and physical legacy that represents an important and positive impact in urban, social and environmental terms. The competitions of ideas will deliver a lasting urbanistic modification of the area integrated with both the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires and its Metropolitan zone, a region that involves nearly sixteen million people, thus posing a rewarding challenge for participating architects. The long-term aim is the promotion and creation of a Creative District, a Creative Business Campus and a Metropolitan Park of nearly 200 hectares of green spaces where culture, art, science and technology coexist.

Contest site: Expo 2023

Contest site: Expo 2023

Contest site: Expo 2023

Are there any other mini stadium and international pavilion projects you have been impressed by?

We are interested in any mini stadium or international pavilion that embraces the values of architecture with as much creativity as possible. 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.’