Text description provided by the architects. PARTISANS, in collaboration with Hxouse, are proud to release “Portal” our EXPO 2020 Canada Pavilion proposal. After learning about the Canadian pavilion competition, PARTISANS immediately recognized the importance of the opportunity and began assembling a formidable Canadian and international consortium.
With a diverse and collaborative team led by PARTISANS, one of Canada’s most promising progressive architecture firms, and Besix, one of the largest construction companies in the world, the PARTISANS designed pavilion is an alluring architectural invitation to step inside the Canadian identity. The pavilion was also conceived in collaboration with Hxouse, a not-for-profit next-generation incubator and accelerator established by La Mar Taylor, the creative director behind the rapper phenom The Weeknd/Xo brand, and Ahmed Ismail. Other collaborators include Augmenta AI, a global leader in computational modeling based in Toronto, and a diverse group of curators including Amin Alsedin, an architectural scholar and practitioner.
Portal visitors will experience the diverse social framework that makes Canada a model for the world. Using advanced data collection and AI processes, the pavilion reconceives our country’s diverse population as a crystalline AI generated interactive cloud that illustrates the vibrant, strong, innovative, and open Canadian culture. Our design provides an eye-catching platform for Canada to assert itself on the international stage as a Global leader.
Design & Exhibition
Whereas international expositions have conventionally relied on the trope of the singular architectural object, our Canadian Pavilion entry reimagines the typology as a porous cloud that shelters exhibition galleries and shaded semi-public spaces. It is a 4-dimensional portal to our country and an invitation for the talented youth of the world to come and begin the process of becoming Canadian.
The crystalline dendritic form, generated almost entirely by computation, suggests Canada’s multicultural society—the country’s biggest asset—the strength of which lies in its numerous interconnected members who come together to make a vibrant whole. The porosity of the form denotes the openness of our society, which constantly welcomes new members, who bring exciting ideas and skills that enrich our society.
The resulting cloud-like form describes a land of boundless opportunity, onto which the dreams of its residents are projected real-time digitally. Likewise, the cloud will welcome visitors in Dubai, and take them through carefully curated displays that shed light on Canadian culture, innovation, industry, and aspirations.
The pavilion’s form is also a climatic solution for its site. Aside from the interlocking panels that capture and interact with the changing light throughout the day, the various dimensions and orientations of the latticework cast unique shadow patterns reminiscent of delicate Mashrabiyah screens familiar throughout the region. The canopy is not just a novel environmental screen, but also a conduit for natural ventilation.
The integration of water features contributes to this microclimate within the canopy, while evoking regional uses of water for aesthetic and auditory pleasure. In other words, the pavilion provides a cool respite in a warm Dubai. This approach is in line with the realities of Canadian architecture that has coped with harsh natural conditions. The material choice of Aluminum is also a response to the incentives in Canada allowing for the cost of the material to be re-captured through recycling after the exhibition is struck.
At its core, resting above a reflecting pond, will lie a sculpture selected and designed by a Canadian Indigenous artist, becoming the centerpiece of the pavilion. It will be a symbol of our country’s values and efforts to reconciliation.
Housed within the cloud on one level are the exhibitions, meeting rooms, VIP areas, and administrative spaces that define the overall programs prescribed by the RFP. These spaces are provided inside simple climate-controlled boxes. The two unique elements of our proposal are the incubator space operated by HXouse and the immigration data journey. The pavilion acts as a portal and platform for the guest to consider moving to and/or investing in Canada.
The central space of the pavilion is populated by a series of totems reminiscent of customs and immigration portals at airports or gates of entry to our country. Using a custom-made pass made for each entrant, the portals allow the guest to “opt-in” after they enter. The data submissions are then sorted by AI software. Guests may share their interest in Canada, be it education, work, investment, or tourism and also share their personal data if they desire. The custom integrated AI allows the exhibition to be a portal for the guest to actually give Canada insights into who is interested in our country and why. It also provides a way to create connections with institutions and people within our country. It provides a way to match the interests and motivations of pavilion visitors to institutions, opportunities, and regions in Canada.
All images courtesy of Partisans
You can watch all the previous workshops (2020-2021) at the PAACADEMY with 25% discount
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