World Expos have long been important in advancing architectural innovation and discourse. Many of our most beloved monuments were designed and constructed specifically for world’s fairs, only to remain as iconic fixtures in the cities that host them. But what is it about Expos that seem to create such lasting architectural landmarks, and is this still the case today? Throughout history, each new Expo offered architects an opportunity to present radical ideas and use these events as a creative laboratory for testing bold innovations in design and building technology. World’s fairs inevitably encourage competition, with every country striving to put their best foot forward at almost any cost. This carte blanche of sorts allows architects to eschew many of the programmatic constraints of everyday commissions and concentrate on expressing ideas in their purest form.
A winding concrete brick path passes through several circular thresholds in the lychee gardens of gaoming,china, passing along the way a small village of reclaimed brick cylindrical structures. at the heart of this village sits the dome home designed by british furniture manufacturers timothy oulton, used as a creative space where people can interact and consequently innovate new design ideas. the structure, as well as the supporting village created around it, were both built almost entirely of reclaimed material.
In New Zealand, auckland-based pratice herbst architects has completed a beach house retreat that overlooks the region’s whangarei heads. the dwelling, named ‘castle rock house’, is a composition of fragmented, yet connected volumes that appear to tumble down the hillside, presenting sweeping views out to sea.