March 15, 2010

Yugoslav Pavillon at Expo 58 in Brussels

Another interestign world-expo building from Yugoslavia was the crisp modern Pavillon of the  Expo’58 in Brussels. 
Vjenceslav Richter, an architect from Zagreb made the design (his cooperator Pavel Weber made the interiors) and the daring structure was planned by structure engineer Zvonko Springer.
(Credit for top photo:

  The model photos from the competition prospectus DIKSI 2 
by Vjenceslav Richer and Pavel Weber 
for the Yugoslav Pavilion on Brussels World Fair 1958.

Richter’s first intriguing idea was a 32m x 40m rectangular space attached to wire-cables to a center collumn. A daring project that asked for an extremly capable and creative structure engineer. 
By end of February 1957 Springer completed the preliminary structural design that included a rough calculation of quantities for the building materials for the pavilion. The static system was aproved by the commission, but the 4 cables that would hold the entire pavilion caused some concernes. Wind loads presented some headache to the commission and so the proposed structure of the model was turned down. It was suggested to support the pavilion in a more traditional way such as on an adequate number of steel columns.

The new design request did not present any major problem as the columns had to be placed more or less at the same position like the one of original hanging rods. It was agreed to rearrange the décor panels to enable hiding the vertical truss stiffener between two adjacent panels. These stiffeners provided the horizontal stability to the pavilion when subjected to horizontal loads.
That was the reason, why the pavilion in the end didn’t looked quiet like on the model!

A little before the exhibition opening Richter designed also a spezial column to be placed in front of the Yugoslav Pavillion, he wished it to be a sensation on the EXPO. It looked like three umbrella’s spoke bent making a bow each strung and fixed on a tendon of thin wire. Each bow was positioned at an angle of 120 degrees to each other and the ends were fixed to the sinew at the third of its length. This “form” was divided in a structure of 6 bows (one each for Yugoslavia’s republics) of a length of 7,5m each.

  At left the lifting hook holds the temporary assembled column 
and a worker checks column’s bearing joint 
on the “pear” support being the lowest structure’s element

The column being assembled on the floor

Springer solved also this daring static problem, with tiny bars holding the sinew at fixation point to the inner two bow’s pipes and painted these bars black so that would make them almost invisible once the “column” is erected in front of the pavilion.  

The Yugoslav pavilion at EXPO 1958 World Fair was renowned for its futuristic design.

Now this building is the best conserved of most EXPO buildings. It got a second life after the world exhibition closed, when it was dismounted, transported and reassambled to become a school building in Saint Paulus College at Wevelgem, Belgium.

More about the 58' Expo here 
Pictures from Zvonko Springer (structure engineer of the project)
and from  Monograph of Vjenceslav Richter, Editor Vera Horvat-Pintarić; Printed and Copyright by GRAFIČKI ZAVOD HRVATSKE, Zagreb 1970.

Here an interesting file to download!


  1. Credit for top photo:

  2. Anno 2012 the pavillion is still standing and a magnificent souvenir from the 1958 world fair in Brussels.
    The building is still a college in Wevelgem, Belgium

    Google Earth:
    search forfollowing adress:

    Deken Jonckheerestraat 16
    8560 Wevelgem, Belgium

    College's webadress:


    Rick Poelman

    1. Thank you very much for the link! Still a very attractive building!

  3. could someone tell mi in which style od architecture does this pavilion belongs to?

  4. could someone tell me in which style of architecture does this pavilion belong to?