By Kang-Hsin Fan
Figure1: UK Pavillion, China 2010.
The pavilion was designed to convey the expo’s theme of “Better City, Better Life”. According to the architects, “The UK, with its millions of gardens, thousands of public parks and garden squares, has pioneered the integration of nature into cities as a way of making them healthier places, in which to live and work. The UK pavilion encourages visitors to look again at the role of nature and wonder whether it could be used to solve the current social, economic and environmental challenges of our cities.”
The UK Pavilion, embodied by Thomas Heatherwick's outstanding innovative design, is a six story high object formed from over 60,000 slender transparent rods, which extended from the structure and quivered in the breeze. “During the day, each of the 7.5m long rods acted like fiber-optic filaments, drawing on daylight to illuminate the interior, thereby creating a contemplative awe-inspiring space. At night, light sources at the interior end of each rod allowed the whole structure to glow” (UK Pavilion, 2010). The pavilion sat on a landscape looking like paper that once wrapped the building and that then lay unfolded on the site. It symbolized the UK's gift to China. . According to Professor Stephen Hopper, Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, “Seeds stored in Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank in the UK, and in our partners’ seed banks around the world, have the potential to enable human innovation, adaptation and resilience; helping current and future generations to lead better lives.”
The UK at Expo had two over-riding objectives: to challenge the Chinese people's perception of the UK from an outdated, traditional one to one where they perceive the UK as a modern, creative, innovative and advanced technological nation and to further strengthen Sino-British relationships.
UK Pavilion. Retrieved April 16, 2011, from http://www.ukshanghaiexpo.com