Shawn Lutz

Shawn Lutz

Houston, TX, US


Expo 2020 / Cultural Identity

Honored Recipient of an AIA Houston Design Awards 2015 

Project Type / Design Proposal
Location / Houston, Texas
Client / Houston World's Fair, Inc.
Contributors / Shawn M. Lutz 
Project Date / 2011-2012

With an eye on the international stage of Expo 2020, a select committee in Houston looked to focus their bid on creating a city brand and aimed to redefine the cultural identity apart from its prominent place in the oil and gas business sector. In response to the committees search for a flexible and catalytic design approach, this project cultivated principles of adaption of scale and retrofitting for multiple site possibilities. The result is a two-story building dedicated to community gatherings – a “Performance Shed”.

The design of the pavilion is born from two thoughts, looking to historical references and construction techniques used in aeronautical design to optimize space. The ingenuity of aeronautic design is both sophisticated and economical through its use of lightweight cylindrical structures to create a monocoque system of essential, simple geometry.

Investigating the evolution of multiple cylindrical structures as they intersect resulted in the demonstration of a simple massing with a complex sculpted interior. This geometry creates a mix of an open floor plan intertwined with smaller intimate areas to be used for meeting spaces, galleries, or exhibitions to reflect Houston’s culture and history.

Houston was originally developed from six wards; each had their own distinct personalities with a range of political and social attributes. Today these wards no longer officially exist, however they continue to be used socially to describe the areas that construct Houston proper. The configuration of barrel vaults and intersections allow six spaces of which the wards may each be respectively represented.

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Status: Unbuilt
Location: Houston, TX
My Role: Principal
Additional Credits: Renderings / Manuel Rearte Studio