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Yugoslavia Pavilion Expo 58

Bruxelles, Belgium
1 of 11

The pavilion of Yugoslavia was designed by the architect Vjenceslav Richter, who originally proposed to suspend the whole structure from a giant cable-stayed mast. When that proved too difficult, Richter devised a tension column consisting of six steel arches supported by a pre-stressed cable, which stood in front of the pavilion as a visual marker and symbolized Yugoslavia's six constituent republics. Filled with modernist art, the pavilion was praised for its elegance and simplicity and was awarded a Gold Medal. After the end of Expo 58, it was sold and reconstructed as a high school in the Belgian municipality of Wevelgem, where it still stands.

Original Idea

Richter's first intriguing idea was a 32m x 40m rectangular space attached to wire-cables to a center column. A daring project that asked for an extremely capable and creative structure engineer. By end of February 1957 Springer completed the preliminary structural design that included a rough calculation of quantities for the building materials for the pavilion. The static system was approved by the commission, but the 4 cables that would hold the entire pavilion caused some concernes. Wind loads presented some headache to the commission and so the proposed structure of the model was turned down. It was suggested to support the pavilion in a more traditional way such as on an adequate number of steel columns.