The architecture of the French Pavilion illustrates how design bridges the gap between human and non-human worlds on our planet, welcoming them into our natural and artificial habitats
The project, jointly developed by French architecture studio Coldefy and Italian architecture and innovation practice CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati, is conceived as a Theatrum Naturae, featuring the gradients of France’s rich landscape as part of a looping narrative path. It suggests new entanglements between humans and other forms of life in our cities and shows France’s contribution to culture and the natural environment in the 21st century.
A single pathway celebrating human senses takes the visitors through the Pavilion, creating an experience divided into what could be considered three acts: Ascent, Discovery of Nature, and Return to the Ground. Rising from ground level in an “arc de scène”, the experience begins by taking a sensual staircase that winds to form an observation balcony before crossing a curtain threshold to create an infinite loop. This loop allows for a complete exploration of the interior space of the building, encompassing its entire volume, before opening onto the verdant terrace.
The journey culminates on the Pavilion’s rooftop, featuring a landscaped garden crowning the building, resembling a slice of nature serving as a protective barrier above the pavilion — a space of common ground welcoming all living species. As visitors walk through the garden, they take a journey through the different environs of France, from the mountains to the coast. It represents the climax of the narrative, akin to the conclusion of a play that reveals the vital realization of our connection to nature.
The project is in line with the overarching theme of the 2025 Osaka World Expo, ‘Empowering Life’. Designed within a circular architectural approach, the pavilion is not only a red thread linking the many aspects of French human and more-than-human life. It also seamlessly blends prefabricated and natural elements, embedding its existence in a virtuous loop of reuse and recycling that extends far beyond the fleeting timeframe of the World Expo.
Public / Culture
Coldefy and CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati
Rimond (general contractor), Yasui Sekkei (local architects & engineers), Bollinger + Grohmann (Structural engineers), Coloco (Landscape architects), Ramboll (Environmental engineers), DE_FORM (Graphics/signage)
3 600 m2 Net Area
Exhibition halls, reception hall, office, shop, café