GS Caltex Pavilion 2012, South Korea, Yeosu

Symbol of energy - dynamic ensemble

At Expo Korea the GS Caltex Pavilion is presented as an ensemble which, at first glance, is reminiscent of an outsized rice field. Eighteen metres high, so-called blades sway like grass in the wind. Touching activates individual sensitive blades and illuminates them. A centrally located star-shaped, mirrored pavilion building is optically withdrawn in its entirety. Via raised corners of the star, the visitor can gain access to the also mirrored entrance area on the ground floor.

At the Expo Korea – 12 May to 12 August in Yeosu, South Korea – the corporate pavilion of GS Caltex, a Korean oil corporation established in 1967, illustrates the company's mission and its visions for the future. Designed by ATELIER BRÜCKNER, it offers visionary spaces that give three-dimensional expression to the idea of energy in harmony with nature. Each visitor can individually explore the site, which is around 2,000 square metres in size and contains a centrally located star-shaped pavilion building that is optically withdrawn in its entirety. Its mirrored façades make the energy field appear to stretch into infinity. Via raised corners of the star, the visitor can gain access to the also mirrored entrance area on the ground floor. Prismatic refractions encourage a collective spatial experience of social networking – without any hint of scale whatsoever. The architects are neither presenting to the visitors a formalistic architecture nor showing the obvious, the cliché image of what an oil-company produces: oil and it’s various forms. They want to make the audience feel what the essence of oil is: energy. The architecture does not teach the visitors about energy but let them discover the power of energy through immersive experiences. The visitors are confronted with an engaging interactive experience that will provoke their curiosity and invite them to wander around and to explore.


Building or project owner : GS Caltex


Structural engineering : Knippers Helbig GmbH


Light hardware (LED hardware) : ALTO l lighting l architectural lighting design laboratory

Lighting control software : vvvv


Facade type and geometry (structure) : A star-shaped building with a polished, stainless steel façade – surrounded by 380 blades. As the façades are completely covered with mirrors reflecting the blades, they appear to stretch into infinity. The blades are made of glass fibre - a reinforced plastic called GFRP (Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer).

Kind of light creation : When darkness falls, the 380 coloured blades shine brightly into the night. LED-stripes within blades are programmed to simulate modes of weather conditions.

Resolution and transmitting behaviour : 14 LED elements with a pixel distance of 30mm are integrated in the 18 metres high blades. They are enclosed of a light diffuser, which reflects the light and distributes it, the blades are illuminated uniformly.

Urban situation : The GS Caltex pavilion is situated on the Expo area in Korea, Yeosu – next to other Company pavilions.

Description of showreel : A choreographed light show of 15 minutes impress the visitors; then an interactive sequence of 5 minutes let them participate. Touching activates individual sensitive blades and initiates pulses that spread out in the shape of waves.

Participatory architecture & urban interaction