UK Pavilion - Shanghai 2010 Expo

05 May 2010

The Pavilion of Ideas, designed by Heatherwick Studio, beat five other short-listed designs, including plans put forward by the creators of the London Eye — the largest Ferris wheel in the world — to become final the winner. The pavilion looks like a box with thousands of spines that hover without visible support above a public square.

From Heatherwick Studio
The Pavilion of Ideas is a unique display device – an enclosure that throws out from all faces a mass of long, radiating cilia, each ending with a tiny light source. Their length means they gently sway in response to any wind movement.

These cilia, or staves, provide the Pavilion with its only means of support. It rests on its soft forest in an urban field, flanked by two ramped, embracing arms of grass, formed as ramparts under which an auditorium, exhibition space, café, shop and reception spaces are sited. The architecture eschews the need for significant concrete foundations and aims to use simple construction techniques to touch lightly on the site.

Above and peering into these spaces, the Pavilion flickers with patterns of light as it sends its messages, and those of its visitors, across the site. Each cilium terminates within the Pavilion – with another tiny light source. Inside, clustered together by the form of the structure, they create an enormous engulfing digital screen. This is how the British Pavilion’s content is expressed – outwardly as well as inwardly.