Umbrella facade designed for Madrid Pavilion in Shanghai

Opening and closing steel umbrellas will be added to the Madrid Pavilion from the 2010 Shanghai Expo by 3Gatti Architecture studio.

The new façade will replace the bamboo louvers that surround the glazed walls of the building, originally designed by a London studio to accommodate an exhibition for low-cost housing for the six-month world fair.

Once the Expo was over, the pavilion was converted into a retail and office complex. After two years, the bamboo started to rot and the steel frames rusted so the owners commissioned 3Gatti Architecture to create an alternative design.

The result is a façade of parasol-like screen that fold open from a spring-loaded central joint.

“We came up with this idea because on sunny days here, Shanghai is full of people with umbrellas,” Francesco Gattim chief architect told architecture and design blog, Dezeen.

Similar in function with the bamboo shutters, occupants will be able to adjust the shades to control the light levels within the building.

“The previous design of the Madrid Pavilion was a system controlled by the users moving the folding shades horizontally. We just changed the shades into a more familiar object,” Gatti added.

The architects will use perforated Corten steel to create the surface of each umbrella, as well as the panels in between. The ground floor elevations will be glazed to allow more visibility into the shops.