Shanghai World Expo: UK Pavilion
U.K. Pavilion is designed to highlight the country’s long history of bringing nature into its cities. The theme, “Building on the Past, Shaping our Future,” together with the innovative design, is meant to challenge Chinese perceptions of Great Britain as traditional and stuffy.
At the center of the pavilion is the Seed Cathedral, which is a six-story structure formed by 60,000 transparent rods that sway in the wind and contain fiber-optic filaments. They draw natural light during the day to illuminate the interior and draw interior light at night, which allows the whole structure to glow. The rods will also contain tens of thousands of seeds provided by Kunming Institute of Botany in partnership with Kew Millennium Seed Bank. In keeping with the theme of sustainability, the seeds will be reused after the Expo for charity and cultural exchanges.
The Seed Cathedral sits on top of a 6,000 square meter landscape that resembles unfolded wrapping paper, which symbolizes the pavilion’s role as a gift from the United Kingdom to China. Inside visitors will move through three walkways. The first presents the modern British urban landscape, including the history of its development. The visitor will travel through models of the U.K. capitals of Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, and London, which highlight their many public parks. On the second walkway, visitors will see a model of a typical British city suspended from the ceiling, which illustrates how cities in Britain embrace nature. The final walkway features a river of imaginary and real plants, which challenges the spectator to imagine urban life that harnesses the power of nature and technology.