MVRDV reinterpret iconic world expo pavilion

15 July 2020



New office space and student housing planned for Hanover site

MVRDV has revealed the design set to transform one of the firm’s own seminal projects from the practice’s early years, the Dutch Pavilion at the 2000 World Expo in Hanover. Abandoned until recently as a well-preserved ruin, the pavilion will be converted into office space for co-working, with two new buildings planned nearby for student housing, further offices and parking. MVRDV have reinterpreted the original concept, while retaining the qualities that made the pavilion an icon of the expo - including the forest on the third floor, which continued to grow when the building was left empty.

The pavilion design was a response to the Dutch theme for the Expo, ‘Holland Creates Space’. Rather than occupying the full site, six Dutch landscapes were stacked into a tower on one section, with the remaining area kept as outside space. In the new design, the first floor, which housed a grid of greenhouses, will keep its strict rectilinear layout as an office, while the pods on the floor above – originally planters – will be glazed and converted into meeting rooms and office spaces. The ground-level 'dunes' will serve as a meeting point with small cafés and exhibition areas. A series of stepped roofs on the new buildings will form colourful, accessible terraces containing gardens, sports facilities, study areas and a cinema. 

“It’s such an exciting opportunity for us to revisit this early project of ours that we first worked on over twenty years ago”, says MVRDV founding partner Jacob van Rijs. “The original design was certainly a unique design for a very specific purpose, but despite its outspoken design its core structure is highly reusable and more flexible than originally imagined. The differences between the floors will be maintained and converted into a functional office environment that nevertheless retains the unique experimental features of the Expo Pavilion. You will be able to work on the Dunes, or in the forest, or between the treetops.”

Lucy Nordberg
TenderStream Head of Research

Explore the TenderStream archive here

Start your free trial here or email our team directly at

Subscribe Now