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EXPO 2000


Creating (virtual) space

"Holland creates Space". The theme for the Netherlands Pavilion at the 2000 World Exposition in Hanover was to showcase a country that can make the most out of small, limited space: for "Expo2000 Netherlands Pavilion", MVRDV worked closely together with exhibition designers MET Studio from London and Eva Kohl of Amsterdam's science centre NEMO to express by the architecture the image of the Dutch as an open‐minded country whilst confirming the positive stereotypes of tulips, windmills and dykes.

Among the main features, MVRDV provided also a video for the exhibition, representing the pavilion through the use of digital animation technology.
Somehow the use of dramatic and synthetic colours resembles the "artificiality" of the Dutch nature. The underlying concept for the pavilion was, in fact, posing the question in which way nature can be compressed while its functionality and user experience are enhanced – the creation of a sustainable balance of man‐made space, nature and technology. The video mimics the six stacked Dutch landscapes which together formed an independent eco‐system: every section is anticipated by a poster, announcing a new section of the pavilion.

The video was meant to guide the visitors inside of the tall building, the tallest of the whole exhibition, which is to say that density can a smart device Netherlands has always used to fight the scarcity of space. On the MVRDV website we read "Can increasing population densities coexist with an increase in the quality of life? What conditions should be satisfied before such increases in density take place? What role will nature, in the widest sense, play in such an increase in density?"
The use of synthetic colours goes arm in arm with the choice of transforming visitors in paper dolls, cut out from magazines and ads, often re-appaering here and there. Everything is real, everything is artificial here: even if the video hasn't aged that well (the aesthetic feels a bit old seen 18 years later, even if its vaporwave vibe has been trending lately, so that the whole video as a new "vintage" aura), it still serves its cause, i.e. the representation of a land where technology and nature are synonyms.

The pavilion became the main icon of the exposition with more than 2.4 million visitors during the 100 days the fair lasted. After 2000 Hannover World Expo fair the Dutch pavilion was not reused, says MVRDV: "Fences were erected around the building. Lifts, trees and windmills were dismantled. Thousands of birds started to inhabit the vacant structure. Party-seekers started to use the forest. It became a real park so to speak. It became a ruin in the best romantic German tradition. As in Heine's poems or in Goethe's memories, a new ruin was born!"
Finally since June 2015 there is a viable plan that secures the future of the Dutch pavilion and adds new life and activities to the site: Real estate developer Die Wohnkompanie Nord, in collaboration with the City of Hannover, has announced plans to revitalize the Pavilion. The new project will connect the pavilion to adjacent university facilities (including lecture rooms and 380 micro- residential units for students and academic staff) on multiple levels to create a dense and unique campus atmosphere.The City of Hannover supports the project and has approved the required adjustments to the zoning plan; contracts between involved parties are being finalized. This project will be a major step towards making Hannover a destination for learning and living.
The pavilion has a future.

(Story by Sara Marzullo, The Architecture Player)


Architect: MVRDV, Landschapsarchitect, Bureau B+B
Mentioned project: EXPO 2000 (2000)
Project location: Hannover, Germany
Visual: Group A
In collaboration with: SNW, Den Haag

Netherlands 2000
Duration: 5'03"