Today, the United States Department of State and the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emanuel, revealed the winning design for the USA Pavilion at the World Expo 2025, a six-month exhibition kicking off in April of that year in Osaka, Japan. Designed by New Orleans and New York–based Trahan Architects, the pavilion, which is expected to receive 28 million visitors, represents the latest innovations in American architecture, culture, and industry.
As described in an announcement, the design features an open, minimalist building with two triangular wings that embrace a sloping, performance stage–anchored plaza, framing it with panoramic LED screens depicting images of American urban and natural landscapes—from the Manhattan skyline to the California redwood forests. An illuminated translucent cube is suspended above the plaza, bridging the two wings.
From inside this “canyon,” visitors become immersed in vistas of the U.S., which, juxtaposed with the mirrored surface of the cube, creates “an opportunity [to contemplate] the relationship between people, the built world, and the environment.” Exhibition spaces and installations inside of the building, which will be realized at a prominent site on the Expo 2025 grounds, are devoted to the diversity of the American landscape, as well as outer space.
Renderings courtesy Trahan Architects, click to enlarge
“As architects, our mission is to bring people together in spaces that cultivate a greater sense of place and strengthen appreciation for our planet,” said Trey Trahan, founder and CEO of Trahan Architects, adding that the State Department commission “offers a rare opportunity to explore these critical issues and engage in a global conversation on the future of our environment and our cities.”
Notably, the USA Pavilion, themed “Imagine What We Can Create Together,” will be the firm’s first built project outside of the U.S. The larger design team includes ES Global, BRC Imagination Arts, Alchemy International, Ricca, Dot Dash, Studio Loutsis, and Hood Design Studio.
Site map. Image courtesy Trahan Architects, click to enlarge
The 2025 Expo is incorporating the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals into its events and programming, including targets for the built environment. To this end, the USA Pavilion, which is one of the final national pavilions for the forthcoming Expo to be revealed, will utilize innovative and sustainable materials for its construction, including reused steel, tensile fabric, HVAC, plumbing, and other materials from disassembled structures from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Following the Expo’s close, these materials will be stored for future use.
Osaka previously hosted a world’s fair in 1970; the USA Pavilion for that edition was designed by Davis Brody (now Davis Brody Bond) with David H. Geiger. For Expo 2020 (held in 2021) in Dubai, the U.S. Pavilion was designed by Australia-founded firm Woods Bagot after Denver-based Fentress Architects departed a year after being selected by the State Department for the commission.