Related News

Home » Metro

Brits plan a stately pleasure dome for Shanghai

THE Crystal Palace, the majestic metal-and-glass edifice that took the world by storm at the First World Exposition in 1851, was a truly iconic building. It would still be one of the great structures of the world if a fire half a century ago had not destroyed most of it.

Now Britain is planning a new icon for the World Expo 2010 Shanghai. But this won't be made of metal and glass.

And if the Brits are a little secretive about the final design, that's because there is no final design even at this stage.

The UK Pavilion for the Shanghai Expo may be one of the most brilliant and challenging of all the structures in the 5.28-square-meter Expo site, but it is also the one with the most ordinary basic shape, a cube.

Leaving the exhibition inside aside, the pavilion itself is a major exhibit, says Carma Elliot, British consul general in Shanghai and also the country's Expo deputy commissioner general.

The pavilion is a huge "light box" with 60,000 spines projecting into the air. The spines swing in the breeze and are tipped with tiny, colored lights displaying images.

There might be pictures of David Beckham on display, says Elliot. They will also display what is happening inside the pavilion, she adds.

The "light box" will be surrounded by an English-style hamlet. Trees will shade the pavilion and shelter waiting queues. Gardens and lawns will offer comfortable places for visitors to rest. They can sit in a typical British garden, sip a cup of English tea and chat with friends, just like a relaxing sunny afternoon in a traditional country garden.

The pavilion is named simply "A Pavilion of Ideas." The 6,000-square-meter structure is among the largest pavilions at the Expo. But it is light, without heavy concrete foundations and will seem to be "touching the ground softly."

The pavilion design has been modified many times and is still changing. The final design remains a secret.

According to the most recent pavilion information, released last Thursday when construction began, the "light box" is "opened." It is a half-opened gift box from Britain to Chinese people, says officials from the British Consulate General in Shanghai.

The thousands of spines will be made from a new material called acrylic fiber, which makes the shimmering softer on the eyes.

The original design for the pavilion might have been just too bright and could have overwhelmed visitors, Rt. Hon. Ian McCartney, UK's Expo commissioner general, says. The country will listen to opinions and continue to improve the pavilion design to make it a favorite for the Chinese, McCartney says.

The Crystal Palace

In 1851, the 70,000-square-meter Crystal Palace, as large as the Shanghai Grand Theater, was built in Hyde Park in London for the First World Expo, known as the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations.

The transparent structure was made up of 4,500 tons of steel and 300,000 pieces of glass. More than 6.3 million people from 25 countries and regions visited the palace.

According to the diary of Queen Victoria who visited the London Expo in her 42nd year, people swarmed into the palace with smiles on their faces. She found it a magnificent construction with palm trees, statues, crystal fountains, flowers - everything about the "festival of peace" was moving and memorable.

In 2010, the 6,000-square-meter UK Pavilion will be smaller, but it aims to attract more, a total of 9.2 million people in fact. In the pavilion, visitors may be able to view the world of the future or review past glories just as the queen recorded a century and a half ago. As the British say, this will be a surprise.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend