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Built to handle weather

THE Spain Pavilion and its more than 8,000 wicker panels are safe from typhoons as they can withstand wind speeds of 120 kilometers per hour, its operator said yesterday after the Expo organizer said a protective cap might be installed over the pavilion to protect it.

In 2006, typhoon Matsa, the largest typhoon to hit the city in 10 years, packed winds up to 100 kilometers per hour.

The pavilion, dubbed "The Basket," is designed to resemble a traditional hand-woven wicker basket and is covered in wicker panels made by craftsmen in Shandong Province.

The 8,000 panels were installed like fish scales, each attached to the steel structure in three places to stabilize them so that no single panel is blown off, Gustavo Weiskal, deputy director of the pavilion's maintenance department told Shanghai Daily.

The panels will sway slightly on windy days because of this design that releases wind pressure, Weiskal added.

The pavilion had yet to receive any notice from the Expo organizer about installing protective caps, but was willing to discuss some windproof measures to ensure the safety of visitors, he added.

The Spain Pavilion has dispatched workers to inspect every panel every 15 days.

None of the panels have moved since the Expo opened on May 1 although several lower down were broken because curious visitors touched them.

The Norway Pavilion, which has a wooden structure and membranes on its rooftop, had taken typhoons into account when building the structure, said Espen Guterud, the pavilion director.

The pavilion's model was given a wind tunnel test to ensure safety in typhoons.

The pavilion had taken all precautions necessary regarding typhoons, Guterud said.

The Macau Pavilion will deflate the two ears and tail of its rabbit-like pavilion on rainy and windy days to prevent storm damage, said Kin-Tung So, operator of the pavilion.

The organizer will inspect every pavilion and talk with operators to ensure safety during the windy season, said Liu Guoliang, deputy director of the Construction Department of the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination.

Liu said all sunshades would be closed when the wind reaches speeds of more than 60 kilometers per hour.


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