The World Expo will return to Osaka in Japan, after 55 years, for EXPO 2025. Apropos Architects is the winner of the architectural competition for the design and content of the Czech pavilion, as announced by the Office of the Czech Commissioner General for EXPO 2025 and CCEA MOBA. Second place went to A69 - architekti, and third place went to the Liberec-based studio Mjölk. The Office of the Czech Commissioner General will now start negotiations with the selected architectural studios, putting together a multidisciplinary team for the Czech pavilion project by the end of April at the latest.
The Czech national pavilion for EXPO 2025 is taking form. A seven-member expert jury selected the winning designs from a total of 38 submitted projects, with Apropos Architects, A69 - architekti, and Mjölk studios claiming the top three positions. A special prize was awarded to Plus One Architects.
The jury was most impressed by the Czech pavilion design by Apropos Architects in collaboration with Tereza Šváchová and Lunchmeat studio. Apropos Architects has international reach and experience, with a presence in Zurich and The Hague in addition to its Prague office, and recently attracted particular attention with its winning design for a new municipal apartment building with a green roof terrace in Prague 7. "The theme of our pavilion is a kind of sculpting of vitality. The facade is designed using sheets of sintered glass, and the use of glass was an obvious choice for us from the start. The Czech Republic has an immense tradition in the craft of glass making, and its use logically fits both the theme of the World EXPO and our chosen theme of vitality. As a society, our active lifespans are increasing. To strengthen our inner vitality, we need to remain conscious of our social and cultural values and continuously reinforce them: hence the wood and glass pavilion, crafted and creatively designed, filled with Czech art and creativity. And the dynamic spiral shape is an ideal path," says architect Nikoleta Slováková from Apropos Architects, explaining the winning design concept.
Second place in the competition went to the design by A69 - architekti, the studio behind, among other things, the new design of the Smíchov transport terminal, and winner of the title architect of the year (Architekt roku) in 2012.
As the third most suitable design, the jury selected the solution from the Liberec-based studio Mjölk.
The jury also awarded a special prize to the design from Plus One Architects studio for its original concept of a pavilion in the shape of a mushroom.
"I was incredibly pleased with the unprecedented interest in the architectural competition and the number of submitted designs. It shows the positive perception of the World EXPO and its prestige. I would like to thank the members of the jury, who approached the selection of the winning designs responsibly and, after two days of unenviable negotiations, agreed on three concepts that, in my opinion, have a great chance of attracting and appealing to Japanese visitors. We are thus one step closer to successfully representing our country at one of the most prestigious cultural and business platforms ever, and I am very much looking forward to what will come next," says Ondřej Soška, Commissioner General of the Czech participation at EXPO 2025.
Who decided the winner?
The Office of the Commissioner General, in cooperation with the competition organiser CCEA MOBA, assembled a highly professional and diverse jury. Sitting on the jury were: world-famous Czech architect Eva Jiřičná, Balázs Bognár, partner of the architectural studio Kengo Kuma and Associates, the studio responsible for the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, among other projects; world-leading automotive designer Jozef Kabaň, Czech architect and chairman of the Czech Chamber of Architects Jan Kasl, architect Markéta Smrčková, vice president of the Confederation of Industry Radek Špicar, and Commissioner General of the Czech participation at EXPO 2025 Ondřej Soška. The jury also included expert advisors Kristina Magasaniková, Osamu Okamura, Adam Gebrian, Aleš Kysela, Martin Wichterle and René Kühn.
"EXPO is the world's most important marketing event and a great opportunity to promote and spread the good name of the Czech Republic abroad. A quality presentation starts with a quality pavilion. I am therefore very pleased that so many excellent candidates have entered the open architectural competition for the national pavilion. Personally, I am looking forward to seeing one of the designs providing a dignified home for the Czech national presentation in Osaka in two years' time," said Jan Lipavský, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, during his speech at the gala evening in CAMP.
Return to Osaka after 55 years
The response to the Czechoslovak entry at EXPO 1970 in Japan was unprecedented. The artistic representation of the protest against the occupation of Czechoslovakia reached more than ten million visitors, and the national pavilion won a special prize from the Japanese Institute of Architects. The building, designed by architect Viktor Rudiš, was complemented by a poetic script by Jan Skácel. However, the exhibition took place after the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops, so the pavilion's creators were unable to travel abroad and never saw their work live.