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Developer builds house of straw for Expo pavilion

CONSTRUCTION began today on a Shanghai World Expo corporate pavilion for the property developer Vanke.

However, China's biggest listed real estate developer will urge people with the pavilion to protect nature rather than showcase its new houses. And unlike other Expo pavilions, the Vanke building will gradually decay and lose its glory during the 2010 event.

The fa?ade of the 5,000-square-meter pavilion will be made of wheat straw. The eco-friendly construction material will start out gold in color but will turn to shades of yellow and black by the end of the event.

The color and smell of straw will easily make people think of nature, and the decaying process will showcase the changes of nature to Expo visitors, said Lu Xiang, a postgraduate of China's Peking University and chief designer of the pavilion.

The building will comprise seven 18-meter-tall structures in the shape of straw piles, which is a common sight in China's farm lands where wheat is stocked. The piles will be covered by straw and skylights on each will let the sunshine through.

The name of the pavilion is "2049," referring to the centennial of the establishment of the People's Republic of China. The exhibition will depict a future scenario of human beings living harmoniously with nature with a theme of "Possibility of Respect."

The theme could mean respect for nature, people's self, society, the diversity of culture and between people, said company chairman Wang Shi.

Stories told in the buildings will be about how termites build their homes, water, sandstorms and rubbish in cities.

The pavilion aims to urge people to protect the environment, Wang said.


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