Expo Update - Pavilion Architecture
From the top the images are of the Chinese, Phillipine, Portuguese, Ukrainian, Icelandic, and Thai pavilions. A good pavilion design must accomplish two things. It must attract you as you mingle with the other 500,000 people who visit the Expo each day. It must also keep you entertained once you are inside its walls. In an eight hour day visitors might see 4 to 8 pavilions so each visit must count.
Pavilions, like the British, have recieved criticism for enticing visitors to wait in line for five hours only to let them down once they are inside. Johnathan Glancey of the UK's Guardian writes "While its design is certainly exciting, the pavilion is not meant to display anything other than itself. Designed by the much-feted Thomas Heatherwick, this spiky cube is a kind of giant, stylized dandelion at the point where the seeds are about to fly off. Each of Heatherwick's 60,000 perspex prickles contains a seed from Kew Gardens' Millennium Seed Bank in Wakehurst, West Sussex. The plan is apparently for the prickles and their seeds to be donated to schools across China when the £35 billion expo closes its gates at the end of the year. Although the prickles channel tiny shafts of daylight inside the British pavilion, there is nothing else here to see." Read Glaceys critique here.
Even though Heatherwick's design might not win the award for the best all around pavilion it will top many lists for most the interesting facade. As I walked around the British pavilion I felt like I had to keep my eye on it, or it might bounce away while I wasn't looking. It creates the illusion that it is alive. It is also the most conceptually sound piece of architecture that I have seen in person. The reference to agricultural and growth is very appropriate for the majority Chinese population that will see the building first hand. China is at a unique time in its developmental history. The blend of Capitalist investment and Communist welfare has allowed the standard of living for urban Chinese to sky rocket in the last five years. The pace of Chinese urbanization is as mesmerizing as Dandelion seeds when they scatter in the wind. Buildings here seem to materialize in weeks, instead of months or years. My street has already changed in the short three months I've been here. That's a whole new post. Getting back to the architecture...
My favorite pavilion so far is the Moroccan Pavilion. Its combination of architecture and craft related exhibits kept me wanting more. I couldn't stop taking pictures. I will devote a post to it soon.
For The Coolist's 10 Architectural Wonders of Expo 2010 Click Here