A journalist for the Los Angeles Times has described the UK pavilion at the ongoing World Expo 2010 in Shanghai as one of the triumphs of the show.
Titled the Seed Cathedral, the UK pavilion is constructed from 60,000 7.5 metre long aluminium rods suspended in a timber frame, sitting on a landscaped area designed to look like a creased piece of paper.
Chinese authorities believe more than 70 million people will attend the exhibition, which offers countries a chance to present themselves to the rest of the world, an opportunity that LA Times reporter Fred A. Bernstein points out carries with it “political, cultural and economic consequences far into the future”.
“Given the high stakes, nearly 200 nations turned out for the Expo. The hits include Britain’s pavilion, which celebrates biodiversity with a gorgeous building housing thousands of seeds, and Switzerland’s, with its exhilarating chairlift ride through an artificial Alp,” he writes.
“But the US pavilion, which is neither, might as well have been across the Huangpu River in the Expo’s corporate section…indeed, the pavilion, with its bland tribute to ‘community’, says little about what makes America, and Americans, special.”
The UK pavilion, created by Heatherwick Studio, scooped the Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) Lubetkin Prize at the end of June for being “the most outstanding work of international architecture by an RIBA member”.