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Australian Pavilion set to chase the sun at Osaka Expo

Led by Buchan, the striking concept design for the Australian contribution to Expo 2025 in Osaka has been unveiled.

Australian Pavilion set to chase the sun at Osaka Expo

The design for the historic Japanese event was fully revealed with an announcement by the Minister for Trade and Tourism Senator, the Hon Don Farrell. The pavilion and exhibition are have been created by global design firm Buchan, which also worked with consultants Nikken Sekkei (as local architect responsible for structural and building services, and as consulting engineers), McGregor Coxall (landscape) and Barbara Bynder, Karrda Pty Ltd  (Indigenous cultural advisor).

The Osaka Expo holds an important memory for architecture history geeks. In 1970, the Japanese Metabolists famously reached something of a climax with the ‘Big Roof’ designed by Kenzō Tange. Artist Tarō Okamoto created what became the symbol of Expo 70 – named ‘Tower of the Sun’, Australian audiences might wonder how much their designers have been influenced to produce their concept of ‘Chasing the Sun’.

Nataly Ernst, lead architect at Buchan, says the design is a celebration of Country and its importance to future societies. She reflects on Australia’s Expo theme of ‘Chasing the Sun’: “It’s an expression of Australia’s warmth, energy and optimism, and our diverse landscape. Buchan’s pavilion and exhibition design harnesses Australia’s unique, natural beauty as a canvas for sharing our stories and culture.”

Related: An award-winning bamboo-built ‘sea-to-table’ pavilion in Thailand

Eucalyptus gumnut – or an abstraction thereof – provides the inspiration for the form. The Eucalyptus tree, with its myriad shapes and colours, is symbolic of the diversity and resilience of Australian people, according to the designers. The colours of the eucalypts and their gum blossoms are in turn threaded into the design in and around the pavilion with the aim of reflecting the vibrancy of contemporary Australia.

The perspectives, experiences and interests of Indigenous Australians are integral to the narrative informing the design. Indigenous cultural advisor Karrda has worked with the design team to embed Country into the pavilion, amplifying Indigenous culture, connection to land and water, and ways of knowing.

“The exhibition will chase the sun across land and water, moving from day into night and between real and surreal,” says Dong Uong, Buchan creative lead on the project. “Visitors will engage with Australia’s physical beauty whilst learning about our culture and achievements.”

Ernst, meanwhile, also draws attention to sustainability in the design: “Our goal with the pavilion is to make an indelible impact, without leaving a trace. The architecture is guided by sustainable design principles, materials and delivery methodology”.

The Pavilion itself forms part of a broader approach that includes deepening Australia’s relationship with Japan, giving Australian businesses access to a global audience, and showcasing contemporary Australia to the world.  

“Buchan is excited to work with our consultant team on this significant project, which will showcase our nation’s creativity and ingenuity,” adds Ernst. “The pavilion will be a platform for promoting Australia’s technological and economic capabilities, and our unique culture and personality.”

Expo Osaka 2025


We think you might also like to read about Buchan’s Nicholas Street Precinct redevelopment for Ipswich City Council .

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