Using 33,000 everyday, ordinary yellow beer crates like giant Legos, Architects SHSH assembled this visually intoxicating pavilion to pay homage to the fiftieth anniversary of the 1958 Universal World Exhibition. The unusual structure is located in Brussels right next to the iconic ‘Atomium’ building which was built for the original exhibition. Why beer crates? "Understanding that the sense of the temporary can only be truly successful when it is free of waste, the pavilion is built using an usual and ephemeral component which after the event returns to its normal daily use," say SHSH on their site. One of the coolest things about the pavilion is that it isn't a purely rectangular space - inside, the crates are stacked to form architectural features such as columns, arches and even domes.
Attracting attention of its own but still remaining respectful to the adjacent Atomium building, the pavilion is located on the roundabout where it’s highly visible to cars and pedestrians. Tying in the choice of material to historical significance of the World Exhibition, SHSH says “We desired the contents of the pavilion to ask, 50 years later, what the notions of progress, universalism and happiness had brought in their time through the system of international exhibitions, and how could a ‘package’ building be enrolled in the parentage of an architectural solution that manages to convey the architectural questions of a given period in time.” Ultimately, their choice was visually striking, recycled and reusable, and allowed them to reduce assembly/disassembly time.
While it looks like it’s made of yellow building blocks, the space is hardly elementary inside. Effective lighting gives the cavernous interior a rather chapel-like mood, with creatively stacked crates forming elaborate columns. Various monitors and projection screens display film recounting the sights, sounds, and feeling of the original event. And even when guests are done checking out the exhibitions, all they need to do to pique their fascination is to look up – the light filtering through the thousands of beer crates is like an art show in itself!