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Competition: Thematic Pavilions, Expo 2023

Argentina has launched an international contest for a Thematic Pavilions complex at Expo 2023 Buenos Aires (Deadline: 5 August)

The anonymous two-stage competition – organised by the country’s Central Society of Architects – seeks conceptual proposals for two new 8,000m² Thematic Pavilions for Expo 2023 which will focus on the theme of Science, Innovation, Art and Creativity for Human Development.

The call for concepts is the fifth in a series of six open competitions which are being held for prominent commissions on the 25-hectare expo site which has been masterplanned by Argentine architects Gustavo Mozzi and Hernán Vela. A final contest due to launch in the coming weeks will focus on a public boulevard and bridge. Contests for the Argentine Pavilion, a Mini Stadium, viewing platform, and International Pavilions have already been launched. 

Contest site: Thematic Pavilions, Expo 2023

Contest site: Thematic Pavilions, Expo 2023

Contest site: Thematic Pavilions, Expo 2023

According to the brief: ‘Thematic Pavilions is the fifth of six international ideas competitions for the construction of buildings for Expo 2023. It regards two pavilions that will exhibit the core theme of the Expo 2023, generating an ideal space to explore creative industries in an entertaining and educational way.

’The objective of the pavilions is to present a wide panorama of creative industry topics – including artificial intelligence, the socio-economic impact of industries in digital convergence, employment and business models, the modern economy, intellectual property, and cultural change in the digital era – while also allowing audiences to experience the creative process itself.’

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 the design of two 8,000m² exhibition spaces. The first, dubbed the Creative Industries Pavilion, will focus on emerging products and concepts. The second, named the Digital Convergence Pavilion, will meanwhile explore contemporary user experiences.

The overall winner – due to be announced on 13 August – will receive a ARS$1.8 million prize while a second prize of ARS$720,000 and third prize of ARS$360,000 will also be awarded.

How to apply


The deadline for applications is 5 August

Contact details


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 thematic pavilions?

The Thematic Pavilions will present the core theme of Expo 2023 – Creative Industries in Digital Convergence – by exploring concepts of creativity from multiple standpoints, including creative industries and their different sectors and the creative economy, along with its social, economic and cultural impacts on the everyday life of citizens. The pavilions will be the ideal venue to present an accurate, educational and entertaining exploration of the creative industries for all those attending the expo. The main objective of the pavilion is for all visitors to experience the creative process behind different goods and products. But it will also provide a chance to understand how technology has transformed the creative industries and daily life.

The Thematic Pavilions will be two separate new buildings measuring around 8,000 sqm each. The two structures will both host exhibitions that reflect the latest technological innovations in museology. The Creative Industries Pavilion will explain the process behind all of the creative products and services that we enjoy today, focussing on the network of human skills required to create them. The Digital Convergence Pavilion will meanwhile explore creativity and technology from the standpoint of the user or customer, presenting the innumerable technological connections and applications essential to modern life.

After Expo 2023, the pavilions will become a space dedicated to developing new activities related to creativity and knowledge in an interactive and immersive way.

Where will the buildings sit within the Master Plan for the wider site?

The Thematic Pavilions contest is the fifth of six international ideas competitions resulting from the masterplan for Expo 2023. The site is located strategically next to the Argentine Pavilion (the subject of our first competition launched on 27 May). Together these buildings will express the core theme of Expo 2012 and, in legacy mode, become a space for creativity and knowledge.

On the other side of the Thematic Pavilions will be the Antenna and Viewpoint (the focus of a previous competition launched on 11 June), which incorporate telecommunications equipment and providing a ludic walk culminating in a viewpoint while visitors can observe the whole expo venue. Both of the Thematic Pavilions will face the main boulevard, a central axis which organizes the site and contains several outdoor activities (which will also the next competition to be launched).

In front of the pavilions, crossing the main boulevard, will be the Mini Stadium and International Pavilions and another set of International Pavilions which will host the stands of the participating countries (both of these competitions launched on 28 May and 4 June respectively).

Contest site: Expo 2023

Contest site: Expo 2023

Contest site: Expo 2023

How will this competition pose a rewarding challenge for architects?

The Thematic Pavilions will exhibit the core theme of Expo 2023, which will deal with creative industries in digital convergence. Their purpose will be to show the value of ideas in a new economy where different types of ideas compete. As such, the pavilions are an opportunity to design a space that will explore applied concepts which have a real impact on peoples’ lives and the progress of society.

Furthermore, Expo 2023 is not an isolated event, but rather the most significant moment of a longer process: the planned and constant development of creative services based on knowledge, and their preeminent positioning within the social, economic and political agenda of the continent. In this sense, one of the main functions will be the legacy Expo 2023 provides. As part of the physical legacy, Expo 2023 will bring together urban areas of advanced development within the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires with less-favoured parts of the Metropolitan Area, integrating a region that is home to nearly sixteen million people. It will also create a new metropolitan park of nearly 200 hectares, featuring a creative district, a creative business campus and an interactive space for creativity and knowledge.

In addition to this physical legacy, Expo 2023 will also leave an intangible legacy. It is a legacy in which the Thematic Pavilions play an important role, as it includes, among other things, the consolidation of creative industries in our country and the promotion of educational, vocational, technical and artistic training to provide a rich environment for their development and expansion.