A to Z of Expo Architects: Fruto Vivas

A to Z of Expo Architects: Fruto Vivas

Venezuelan architect and activist José “Fruto” Vivas occupies the V spot in the A to Z series. Already celebrated in his home country for his bold creations such as the Club Táchira, Vivas was selected to design Venezuela’s Pavilion at World Expo 2000 Hannover.

Inspired by the Expo’s theme –“Man-Nature-Technology” – Vivas chose to emphasize the idea of sustainability and his own vision of progress by bringing technology and nature together. The architect thus created a pavilion – Venezuela: A flower for the world - that emulates the flor de mayo, the country’s national flower.

Principally composed of glass and sheet metal segments, the pavilion’s light and flexible volume imitates a flower not only in its visual appearance, but also in its behaviour. The roof, designed in partnership with Frei Otto, features 16 metallic petals, each one spanning 10 metres and attached to a hydraulic-powered mast that works on the basis of tensegrity. This highly innovative system allows the petals of the ‘flower’ to open and close according to weather conditions.

Designed by Vivas to be entirely re-usable, the pavilion was dismantled following the Expo, shipped back to Venezuela and rebuilt in the city of Barquisimeto, where it serves as a cultural centre and has been recognised as a national monument.

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