A parallel Worlds

Sunday April 11 2010 / Science & Technology - Art & Design

Construction of the exterior of the sensational UK pavilion for the Shanghai World Expo has been completed. The Seed Cathedral is the centerpiece, with its 20-meter-high cube-like structure covered by 60 thousand slim, transparent acrylic rods, extending outward and quivering in the breeze.

Each rod contains seeds, symbolizing the UK's contribution to the Expo theme of "Better City, Better Life." Visiting British Foreign Secretary David Miliband says the Expo aims to demonstrate the UK as a creative, innovative and advanced technological nation. After the Expo, all of the seed-encased acrylic poles will be given to China as a symbol of continuing friendship between Britain and China.

The Shanghai World Expo 2010 is due to run from May 1 to Oct 31, with about 70 million visitors expected to attend.



Developed by one of the UK's leading creative talents - Thomas Heatherwick - the UK pavilion provides a dramatic demonstration of creativity and innovation in the UK.



The UK pavilion building is a six storey high object formed from some 60,000 slender transparent rods, which will extend from the structure and quiver in the breeze. During the day, each of these 7.5m long rods will act like fibre 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 will allow the whole structure to glow. The pavilion will sit on a landscape looking like paper that once wrapped the building and that now lies unfolded on the site. The landscape provides an open space for public events and shelter for visitors making their way into the pavilion structure.



The Seed Cathedral is the centerpiece, with its 20-meter-high cube-like structure covered by 60 thousand slim, transparent acrylic rods, extending outward and quivering in the breeze.



Inside the pavilion building is a unique visual representation of the UK's leading role in conservation worldwide - Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership - the largest collection of wild plant seeds in the world. By encasing tens of thousands of seeds into the ends of the transparent rods, visitors will be able to view examples of seeds of plant species that contribute to national and global conservation programmes.

The seeds have been sourced from the Germplasm Bank of Wild Species, Kunming Institute of Botany, The Chinese Academy of Sciences in China - a partner in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew's Millennium Seed Bank Project. The seeds being used are taken from stocks that are both plentiful and readily available.

After the Expo, all of the seed-encased acrylic poles will be given to China as a symbol of continuing friendship between Britain and China.



For more information, www.ukshanghaiexpo.com

Suggested by
Maximilian Büsser