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December 22, 2009

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Expo 'relics' recycled for lifestyle

SIP coffee in cafes in different building styles from around the world, watch a fashion show along the Huangpu River, listen to a modern concert in a renovated workshop, and ride a bike around an ecologically self-purifying park.

The World Expo 2010 will provide a good place for rest and entertainment not only during the six-month event opening in May but also after the world's fair concludes.

Expo organizers will turn the Urban Best Practices Area (UBPA) in Puxi area along the Huangpu River into an area of offices, bars and pubs, entertainment, galleries and museums. It will feature an innovation park and fashion show stages.

After the 184-day Expo, all the UBPA buildings that involve distinctive architectural styles will remain.

The area will include features of Xintiandi, the shopping, dining and entertainment area in Luwan District, and 1933 Old Millfun, a spectacularly glass-domed former slaughterhouse that has become a lifestyle and entertainment hub in Hongkou District.

The new landmark in Puxi will be distinctive with its renovated factories and various international architectural styles.

It is expected to be another Xintiandi leisure area with more fashion and innovative elements, says Tang Zilai, chief Expo designer for the area. In Xintiandi, the exterior of old shikumen (stone-gated) buildings was preserved while the interiors were dramatically renovated for modern use.

The Expo's Urban Best Practices Area will feature more than 80 projects from around the world that demonstrate innovative solutions to urban issues, such as water treatment, energy conservation, transport, social interaction, and bring residents into closer contact with nature.

The 151,200-square-meter area contains more than 50 different buildings. Most are reproductions of buildings in other cities that have proven to be either environmentally friendly or good examples of how to preserve older structures.

The area has four factories that once belonged to Jiangnan Shipyard and Nanshi Power Plant. They have been renovated and converted into pavilions for the Expo. Afterward, they will be converted to other use.

The buildings will not be stand-alone, but integrated into city blocks, creating the feeling of being in an urban environment.

People will feel the area is a "natural" city block though buildings were built by different countries in distinctive architectural styles, says chief designer Tang.

The converted factories, symbols of China's earliest industries in the 1920s, will be turned into an innovation park.

The two new pavilions designed by Italian architects will be turned into professional fashion show runways and theaters to fill a need in Shanghai, Tang says.

The organizer is building the two 1,000-square-meter pavilions to house other UBPA exhibitions that are more suitable for exhibitions and multi-media presentations, such as car-pooling.

The 110-year-old power plant, featuring a 165-meter-tall chimney, will be turned into a big shopping mall like the Super Brand Mall in Lujiazui, Pudong New Area. A conference hall in the plant used as presentation rooms for some UBPA cases will become a concert hall or cinema.

The plant will also be the Future Pavilion, one of the five Theme Pavilions at the Expo.

During the Expo, the old smokestack will be illuminated by twinkling lights, demonstrating a case from Lyon, France, about high-efficiency lighting.

In the center of the UBPA, Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, will build a wetland park that uses soil and vegetation to purify rainwater.

Each day, the 2,680-square-meter park will be able to purify about 30 cubic meters of water that will be used to flush toilets at the area. The park shaped like a fish will remain as a public space.

People can ride bicycles around the area, another UBPA case, "The Revival of the Bicycle," from Odense, Denmark.

Essentially, planners aim to make the Expo site another UBPA case of the host city after the Expo ends, says Tang. The UBPA will not only be an exhibition area but also an exhibit itself.

The long-term efficiency of most of the cases may not be evident in the 184-day event, but afterward people will be able to appreciate their energy savings and eco-friendliness.

"Many projects have striking features. All these cases have real models and they are successful practices. They are enlightening in terms of the influence they will have on people's lifestyles," says Zhou Hanmin, vice director of the Expo's executive committee.

The UBPA list includes Shanghai's green building demonstration project, Shanghai-EcoHousing.

Neighboring cities will also take part. Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, will showcase the protection and renovation of its old town. Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, will display how it fights against pollution and treats water in scenic West Lake in the project "Harnessing Five Waters."

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region will showcase how smart cards have improved people's daily lives and the Macau SAR will explain how it renovated the historical pawnshop, Tak Seng On.

The two Taipei city cases are "Wireless Taipei, Taipei Infinity" demonstrating the city's Wifi network and "Total Recycling, Zero Landfill, Working Towards City Sustainability" on solid waste management.

Other best practices include Madrid's "New Horizons for Public Housing" and the "Tent City of Mina" from the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca. London

Zero-Carbon Houses

Two interconnecting carbon-neutral buildings are adapted to the Shanghai climate and utilize local products to achieve zero emission of carbon dioxide. It reduces energy usage with energy-saving settings and renewable power resources.


Hamburg House

The 570-square-meter building will incorporate both living and office functions, and its exhibition area will cover around 3,000 square meters. The house will use solar and geothermal energies as well as natural ventilation systems to make its energy consumption 86 percent less than ordinary buildings of the same size.


Bamboo House

The Spanish capital will exhibit a bamboo house and an artificial tree that can control climate. The Madrid Pavilion will be a five-story residential building covered in bamboo to filter sunshine, heat and sound.


Daming Palace (Tang Dynasty, AD 618-907)

Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi Province, will replicate an imperial palace. The historic city, home of the terra-cotta warriors, will share its experiences in protecting historic buildings - within exhibition space inside the replica palace.


Tak Seng On Pawnshop

China's special administrative region is building a replica of Macau's 92-year-old Tak Seng On Pawnshop to show the government's efforts to turn the pawnshop into a popular museum. The building will feature a library of the martial art works of Hong Kong writer Louis Cha, better known by his pen name Jin Yong.


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