I enjoyed your piece about Foreign Office Architects' pavilion at the Japanese expo (AJ 28.4.05), and I have some sympathy with your conclusion that expos 'have turned into corporate trade fairs, grossly oversized and impossible to digest'. But I don't buy the argument that they've now become obsolete.
I have strong memories of the Hanover expo in 2000, and though much of it was run-ofthe-mill, two things stood out: the clever building by MVRDV, with its stack of different landscapes, and the lovely Swiss pavilion by Peter Zumthor, all wood, with a fragrance I can almost still smell. Both these pavilions were what your article would call 'holistically conceived', and I can't think that their designers would have had the chance to build them in any other setting than an expo.
So, by all means give these events a clearer focus, and cut out some of the razzmatazz, but please don't sacrifice the chance to experiment that they offer.
Ivor Patterson, Banbury, Oxford