Saturday, April 03, 2010

28 days to go...

...until the unveiling of some wild and wacky architecture at Expo 2010 Shanghai. The theme of "'Better City, Better Life,' represent[s] the common wish of the whole humankind for a better living in future urban environments." Regardless of the theme, most of the country pavilions are explorations of architectural innovation, like Thomas Heatherwick's UK pavilion:

[UK Pavilion, detail | image source]

The general idea of expos is that the national pavilions are expressions of the country, their culture, innovation, knowledge, etc. So what does the US pavilion by Canadian architect Clive Grout say (besides "who the heck is Clive Grout?")?

[US Pavilion, rendering | image source]

A number of sustainable features are included, though they don't seem to impact the form of the building as much as symbolism. According to the pavilion's web page, the "bold and simple shape of the USA Pavilion shadows that of an eagle with open wings, a creature that is uninhibited by boundaries. ... the eagle has been designed with its wings open as a gesture to welcome guests into the Pavilion." So the pavilion is rhetoric over architectural innovation, business as usual, even in regards to the private sourcing of a very public project, as described in this Architect's Newspaper article. Its location near an entry gate, and the fact it's the US pavilion, will guarantee a high number of visitors (projections call for 60 million), but the design holds little promise in impressing them, especially in regards to the other pavilions.