Great Blue Whale design beached

Elena Giussani
Thursday 22 Oct 2009

Third prize for nautical themed pavilion

Coming third place in the international competition for the Thematic Pavilion at Yeosu Expo 2012, Studio Nicoletti Associati's design, emerges from Yeosu’s waters as a Great Blue Whale hurling itself out of the port to represent the Expo's theme: The Living Ocean and Coast.

The metaphorical form of Studio Nicoletti's Thematic Pavilion attempts to draw attention to the fundamental influence of the planet's oceans and coasts resources, and how dangerous it is for such a fragile ecosystem, to ignore them. While the architects felt the iconic and symbolic design holds the message that Yeosu Expo 2012 wants to transmit to the world -Oceans are the origin of life on Earth, we have the responsibility to protect them - it was concluded by the jury that, 'its shape is by now quite familiar, with many precedents around the world'.

They did, however comment that: "It has a strong and powerful form that would become instantly recognizable. The theme of the Expo is symbolically represented with a shape drawn from marine life. The image of the pavilion is consistent with the theme of the ocean. Its fluid shape celebrates the nature of water and the marine life that has adapted to it. It makes a very simple but powerful metaphorical relationship. The exhibition space is very practical for post-use."

The winning project, One Ocean, was presented by soma-architects with SPACE GROUP's Sangleem Lee presenting OCEAN ARCH to claim second prize. One Ocean, described as an 'imaginative and well developed idea', will now be constructed at the heart of the Expo site in time for its commencement in 2012 and will act to promote quality architecture in Korea.

The winning design appears as "an ocean creature from the land, and mussels congregated on the coastal rocks when seen from the sea.

"Not only is it beautifully worked out detail, but it also embodies many ecological values," said the jury. "This scheme seems a better response to the short construction period than other entries."

Further design developments were recommended in order to take advantage of the iconic design elements, advising that perhaps hi-tech facade details and lighting would be appropriate.

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