Austrian Pavilion

The spatial relationships of the pavilion playfully adopt the balance, division and symbiosis between the town and the countryside. Abstract landscapes as sensual experiential spaces generate a rhythmical movement from the natural space to the cultural acoustically condensed urban space. The central room unfolds from the inside outwards. The curvilinear sequence of interior spaces supports the flow of visitors from the entrance area through the exhibition grounds to the exit. Thanks to the seamless transitions the visuals can unfold freely and unhindered in the space. Panoramas and imagery are projected onto the walls, floor and ceiling to fill the interior.

What looks organic is the result of mathematical structures calculated in minute detail. Only apparently a paradox, the mathematics are understood as the universal language, capable of describing everything, from the structure of a piece of music to the geometry of an oyster shell Geometric and mathematical systems present in natural phenomena are embedded directly into the design to increase the efficiency of the form.

Enrobed in ten million porcelain tiles, the pavilion takes the form of a seamlessly shimmering building, spectacularly reconciling elegant with futuristic elements. The cladding of the complex curved surface encasing the entire outdoor surface and the roof was made possible by the selection of very small hexagonal modules. The result is what appears to be a smooth, seamless surface, regardless of its opposite nature: 60 million joints result in a regular distribution of the tension in the fa├žade. The design also alludes to the tradition of Chinese porcelain exports to Europe.

In the designing and planning phases, SPAN & Zeytinoglu predominantly work with digital models, a method allowing them to integrate e.g. achievements of topology, the exploration of complex curved geometries. The Austrian pavilion directly reflects this practice. Its organic, curvilinear forms and the continuous flow between spaces base on natural geometric systems.

Based on the design methodology for the Pavillion, SPAN & Zeytinoglu also developed the entire interior design including the restaurant, the shop and the VIP area in addition to the exhibition space and the office area. As part of the interior fittings, the team designed the restaurant and the VIP bar, the shop desk, the info desk, the modular sitting lounge in the VIP area and the reception desk in the VIP lobby.

Although the objects have a value of their own, their integration into the architecture is essential: Spaces and objects form a symbiosis and enhance each other. The design objects are made from CNC-milled polyurethane and coated with synthetic resin. CNC (Computer Numerical Control) is a technology originally developed for the aviation industry, enabling the precise construction of digitally generated, complexly curved objects.


Project Type


Shanghai, 200041, China

Related links


  • Span & Zeytinoglu Architects
  • Maria Ziegelbock