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Expo ’70 Commemorative Park

Osaka

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Dutch Pavilion Osaka World Fair

Under the motto “Progress and Harmony for Mankind”, the World Exposition in Osaka (1970) was the first universal world fair in Asia. The master plan for the exhibition was developed by Japanese architect Kenzo Tange. Carel Weeber and Jaap Bakema designed the Dutch pavilion.

The “Expo ‘70” programme was intended for a generation of world citizens who had grown up with comic books and television instead of books. The exhibition was to contribute to the new image of Japan, the world and the future. While the 1958 Expo in Brussels focused on science and technology - and the general euphoria about that - the theme of the multimedia spectacle in Osaka was the humanisation of the new information and communications technology, particularly of computers and audio-visual media.

In Osaka, the Dutch government presented itself with a pavilion designed as a “viewing machine”, a multimedia environment in which the visitor was immersed in spatial collages of impressionistic images and sounds by film maker Jan Vrijman and composer Louis Andriessen.

Weeber and Bakema’s design was entirely based on this idea. The pavilion comprised three closed containers, stacked one on top of the other, creating an optimal space for projecting films. The containers were separated and turned from each other and linked to towers. Every hour, 3,000 visitors were taken on escalators from the central lobby to and through the exhibition rooms. The lobby was located in a basement suspended almost 2.5 metres above the ground and could only be reached by way of a bridge over the water. The pavilion’s exterior was constructed of 30 mm thick concrete slabs sprayed with aluminium.

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