Spanish Pavilion
2005 World Exposition

Foreign Office Architects (FOA) 2005

Of the 65 pavilions that individual or groups of countries have built to exhibit themselves at Japan's World Expo, Spain's stands out strongly architecturally. The external walls, lattices of irregular earthenware hexagons of mixed colors, implausibly tessellated, are immediately striking from across the Expo site.


These walls are an outer skin, separated from the inner pavilion to give a half-in, half-out queuing space (invaluable for an Expo at which lines are endemic). This separation suggests at first that the hexagons may be superficial – external decoration around a plain box inside. But the inside is anything but plain. A dramatic oval plaza, with changing images of Spain, projected onto sixteen high-level screens, gives access to smaller “side chapels” (the cathedral metaphor is the architect’s) each developed by a different artist to illustrate a Spanish theme, from Don Quixote to Spanish foods.

Spain has a strong commitment to Expos, having hosted Expo 92 in Seville and preparing for its 2008 Expo in Zaragoza, and has created in Aichi an exemplary national pavilion.

Simon Glynn 2005

How to visit

The 2005 World Expo is approximately 45 minutes by train from Nagoya in central Japan, and runs only until 25 September 2005. Full visitor information is available at

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