Hungarian-based Graphisoft’s ArchiCAD was used to design the winning Hungarian pavilion for the 2010 Shanghai Expo. Designed by Tamas Levai the pavilion uses a mathematical model known as the Gomboc, invented by two Hungarian engineers, Gabor Domokos and Peter Varkonyi. Gomboc’s are self-righting (see the website screen capture below for some images).
By highlighting Hungarian creativity, the pavilion’s design is based on a specific feature, the Gomboc, rather than entertaining visitors with shows and exhibits. The architecture and design of the pavilion itself expresses Hungary’s main message. In addition, the Gomboc has a close, ideological relationship with Yin Yang, both symbolizing the pursuit of balance and harmony. According to Levai, “This is what Hungarians wish to achieve in urban design as well.”
The harmonic movement of the Gomboc is similar to the pulsating city; this feature is magnified by the structure of the pavilion through its dynamically moving vertical elements, creating density at the same time. The hanging wooden rods give the illusion of walking in a forest, while the sparse areas are like glades or city squares. The elements of the wooden installation are like musical instruments; nearly 600 moving sound boxes create an undulating sound space. The inner space of the pavilion is awash in natural sunlight during the day, while a man-made starry sky illuminates the space at night.