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  7. Denmark Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010 / BIG

Denmark Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010 / BIG

  • 01:00 - 3 May, 2010
Denmark Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010 / BIG
Denmark Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010 / BIG, © Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

© Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan +20

  • Architects

  • Location

    Expo 2010, Luwan, China
  • Architect

  • Creative Director

    Bjarke Ingels
  • Partner In Charge

    Finn Norkjaer
  • Team

    Tobias Hjortdahl, Jan Magasanik, Claus Tversted, Henrick Poulsen, Niels Lund Petersen, Kamil Szoltysek, Sonja Reisinger, Anders Ulsted, Jan Borgstrom, Pauline Lavie, Teis Draiby, Daniel Sundlin, Line Gericke, Armen Menendian, Karsten Hammer Hansen, Martin W. Mortensen, Kenneth Sorensen, Jesper Larsen, Anders Tversted
  • Collaborators

    2+1, Arup AGU, Arup Shanghai, Tongji Design Institute, Ai Wei Wei, Jeppe Hein, Martin De Thurah, Peter Funch
  • Client

  • Area

    3.0 sqm
  • Project Year

  • Photographs

From the architect. The Shanghai Expo 2010 has opened its doors, and we start to see how the pavilions evolved from the previews we saw during design/construction phases at ArchDaily, to become a showcase of the current status of architecture from around the world.

The Denmark Pavilion was one of the first ones we presented you, almost a year ago. The project, designed by BIG with ARUP and 2+1, was interesting not only from an architectural and structural point of view, but also for the danish spirit it represents.

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

Basically, the pavilion is a big loop on which visitors ride around on one of the 1,500 bikes available at the entrance, a chance to experience the Danish urban way. At the center of the pavilion there’s a big pool with fresh water from Copenhagen’s harbor (one of the most clean in the world), on which visitors can even swim.

At the center of the pool you will find The Little Mermaid, a statue that has become a symbol for Denmark. And this time, it will be moved temporarily to China. In Bjarke Ingels words “it is considerably more resource efficient moving The Little Mermaid to China, than moving 1.3 billion Chinese to Copenhagen”.

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

After the break, more images of the completed pavilion by arch photographer Iwan Baan, including Bjarke Ingels himself riding a bike on the circular loop:

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

The pavilion is a monolithic structure in white painted steel which keeps it cool during the Shanghai summer sun due to its heat-reflecting characteristics. The roof is covered with a light blue surfacing texture, known from Danish cycle paths. Inside, the floor is covered with light epoxy and also features the blue cycle path where the bikes pass through the building. The steel of the facade is perforated in a pattern that reflects the actual structural stresses that the pavilion is experiencing making it a 1:1 stress test.

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

"Sustainability is often misunderstood as the neo-protestant notion "that it has to hurt in order to do good". "You're not supposed to take long warm showers - because wasting all that water is not good for the environment" or "you're not supposed to fly on holidays - because airtraffic is bad for the environment". Gradually we all get the feeling that sustainable life simply is less fun than normal life. If sustainable designs are to become competitive it can not be for purely moral or political reasons - they have to be more attractive and desirable than the non-sustainable alternative. With the Danish Pavilion we have attempted to consolidate a handful of real experiences of how a sustainable city - such as Copenhagen - can in fact increase the quality of life",

- Bjarke Ingels

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "Denmark Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010 / BIG" 03 May 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


Johneee · October 03, 2014

Experience it in 360degrees

(not on mobile)

ab9 singh · May 01, 2014

inspiring work

Salih Kanat · August 01, 2012

Denmark Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010 / BIG | ArchDaily @archdaily arac?l???yla

Sergi RdA · August 01, 2012

Denmark Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010 / BIG | ArchDaily vía @archdaily

Pedrito Rastrillos · August 01, 2012

Denmark Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010 / BIG | ArchDaily vía @archdaily

Thakur · August 01, 2012

Denmark Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010 / BIG | ArchDaily via @archdaily

xavier_chen · May 30, 2012

as for a chinese architect,i think it was magnificent work.another great job to BIG

SASA · February 03, 2012

Denmark Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010 / BIG | ArchDaily via @archdaily

Konstantinos Arch · January 29, 2012

Denmark Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010 / BIG | ArchDaily via @archdaily

Marika Varady · November 22, 2011

Denmark Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010 / BIG | ArchDaily via @archdaily

Fran Iniesta Plaza · November 05, 2011

Denmark Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010 / BIG | ArchDaily vía @archdaily

Malika-Zaynah Grant · October 22, 2011

Love everything. Just amazing. Speechless....

sarah faour · October 09, 2011

this pavilion may act as a landmark in its area, more over the pure white colour of the façade gives us the sense that this project is clean, neat and pleasant to be in. yet because of the fact that there is no landscape surrounding this pavilion you may feel that the design doesn't corporate enough with in the surroundings and we may feel that it can be moved from this place to another one,,,, while in my opinion a good design couldn't be moved from its place because its too engaged with it....

bjarke ingels · March 11, 2012 01:53 AM

Yeah I know maybe, but when they like it in another country I can use it again.

Sundos Mohamed · October 08, 2011

1.I like the façade of the building which let a small amount of natural lighting enter the building and create a texture inside it.

2.The idea of having sitting area in the roof, bicycle and walk path, and bicycle parking makes this building unique and active. Also, from the render I can imagine lifestyle and sustainable urban development of the city.

3.From the plans, the loops interconnect between inside and outside which makes flexible movement within the building.

4.The night view is amazing. I think the lighting affect the appearance of the building in day and night time and could make it more attractive.

5.From my point of view, the proposal sticks to the speech, and I´m sure the end result will be one of the most impressive pavilions.

Over all I like this building <3 hope to visit it someday.

Brian Thiriet Wilmer · August 22, 2011

The Architect was a guest speaker in my design principles class: via @archdaily

Sam · August 17, 2011

Interesting structure. Nice organic flow mixed with simplicity of the white facade.

Dave · August 17, 2011

This is an interesting project, seeing how you can take a simple activity like cycling and create a magnificent architectural feature out of it. Think about it...cycling? But here it is! With a water feature at the center. It is iconic definitely, good stuff from BIG.

Mehrdad · May 12, 2011

wow!it is very beautiful

Rawan · May 07, 2011

Denmark Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010 / BIG | ArchDaily via @archdaily

pi A · March 25, 2011

oh bjarke..sooooo sexy!!

bjarke ingels · March 11, 2012 01:51 AM


saimir ark · March 13, 2011

nice concept...

Indri Aldwiati, ST · March 08, 2011

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa bulet,,,,bulet,,,, @,@

neziha akcan · March 04, 2011

yeaahh! very good.

A Style MASTER · February 22, 2011

Denmark Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010 / BIG | ArchDaily via @archdaily @astylemaster/a-style-master-s-rue

ikkairi · February 19, 2011

I&#39m absolutly agree that Denmark Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010 / BIG is building of a year! via @archdaily

joelle fauquert · February 19, 2011

Denmark Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010 / BIG | ArchDaily via @archdaily

arifa.lodhi · February 16, 2011

its beautiful!! Denmark Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010 / BIG | ArchDaily via @archdaily

Joanne Capella · August 18, 2010

RT @SPR_Design: Denmark Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010 / BIG <-Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright&#39s Guggenheim?

Nuje · August 15, 2010

Wow! The famous mermaid of Denmark just got into China. This should be great for tourist attraction in Shanghai. At least children will no longer wonder the look of Christian Andersen popularized mermaid.

Vertigo Home · July 04, 2010

RT @SPR_Design: Denmark Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010 / BIG

Dom Quixote Arq Urb · June 23, 2010

Quando a arquitetura é boa, poucas coisas precisam ser ditas: - -

C · June 12, 2010

It is nice in big picture but in details, it would need a lot more considerations. I was there and hoped to get a ride on the bike but unfortunately, due to very large crowded people ( it really a normal condition in China)waiting to get in so I think they just changed the diagram how you experience the building, only allow walking into and out of the building. So such a hot damn experience.
So I think the consideration of real situations should be thought out in design too.

wyvc · June 26, 2010 09:51 PM

Yes, I agree with you regarding the details. There was a drizzle when I went there the other day and the epoxy floor is extremely slippery. I was hoping to get a bike ride too but there was a 1hr line up. Tough luck...

Bottom line, it was still a great experience walking in the loop. Good job BIG

Dessh · June 10, 2010

Algunas imágenes del Pavellón de Dinamarca en la expo de Shanghai:

TG · June 09, 2010

Fantastic! Like a super clean super fresh BIG toilet. I really like it.

Edgard Georges · June 06, 2010

Belo trabalho modernista, eclético, Denmark Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010:

Maurice Cunningham · June 03, 2010

Reading: "Denmark Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010 / BIG | ArchDaily"( )

minjinkim · June 02, 2010

Check out: "Denmark Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010 / BIG | ArchDaily"( )

daniella molina · May 31, 2010

Reading: "Denmark Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010 / BIG | ArchDaily"( )

pete · May 28, 2010

In some years we look back and do a heavy blush of our small and light hypes.

This is not an idea, its a known consept of circulation that the BIG studio uses on several projects until the pr guy lets them know its too much.

Get over it.

SPR Design · May 26, 2010

Denmark Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010 / BIG

Jake · May 17, 2010

Adorei o Pavilhão da Dinamarca

Patrick Bell · May 15, 2010

Architecture: Denmark Pavilion for Shanghai Expo 2010, designed by BIG: at @archdaily

up_today_arch · May 11, 2010

Very free and fresh... These buildings are just ideas about path of architecture. It is great opportinity, that countres pay for this experiments, and we can see and, most important, check and fill real impressions from realased architectural models.

Talita Matthiesen · May 11, 2010

Reading: "Denmark Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010 / BIG | ArchDaily"( )

noname · May 09, 2010

good job for a retro-futur.
Why to spend so much time , so much talent, so much money... just to reproduce a sixties ambiance and addiction ?
It s the most nostalgic pavillion of this word fair. Rewind me, the futur ! it s so confortable to be a refugees of vintage value, speciffically when it s white and pure...
Good job for a very chilly and poor intellectual values. Is it an architecture piece, or a "decor" from the past.

Soupdragon · May 04, 2010

Isn't it just another version of Olafur Eliasson and Kjetl Thorsen's Serpentine Pavillion from a couple of years ago? Except not as interesting.

Wayne Huang · May 04, 2010

The little mermaid's new temp home, quiet and shining like a mirror, takes me back into a childhood's dream;
The spiral bike lane - humble, green, and beautiful - leads me to the lovely Danish land;
The gently curved design with white and blue tone, penetrating time and space, bridges me into the future.
This pavilion is the one i like the most.

hug-o-mermaid · May 04, 2010

On1 May, the 3 bosses from BIG surpised the local security staff. They took off their shirts and pants and jumped into the pool:

Old B got really close up to the statue also and realized a personal dream:

biboarchitect · May 03, 2010

I wish I am Iwan Baan!! he is traveling across the globe after such incredible buildings.

Travis · May 03, 2010

Regardless about the brickwork - which I don't agree would make this project better - I do think that it feels a bit too plastic - seemingly created in all one material. Expediency?

op · May 02, 2010

I like mermaid, and the scale I think is corect, cause it shows real size. First time when I visited Copenhagen, I was walking near water and hoping to see that sculpture. But when I finaly reached her, I was shocked how small she is. That tiny sculpture in the big, white, strange space responds to my impresion, and how fragile it looks... nice

Vitali · May 02, 2010

Very impressive job.
Looks even better than in presentation.
Well done Bjarke!

Ales · May 02, 2010

not bad but I think it would be great in BRICKWORK :)

sam · May 02, 2010 05:49 AM


making a irregular shape building?
you should go back uni to study again about the materials

jijigua · May 02, 2010

nice, I like it.

asterix · May 01, 2010

the most wonderfull creation of past decade!!!

ryan · May 01, 2010

why is anyone asking how it reflects denmark?
sure it's a new aesthetic, but are they supposed to be building vernacular?

The entire building is about denmark because of the focus on the bikes, the idea that you ride to other pavilions on your danish bike (which is a big part of danish life). And then you have the mermaid and the water,

id say it reflects its own culture better than any pavilion i've seen. I like the british pavilion, but how does it reflect british culture? its hairy?

Sanjeev Sabharwal · February 15, 2011 10:00 PM

Yeah Ryan, you seem to be the only person who gets the idea! It's all about cycling and the mermaid!

sandra · May 01, 2010

I did like the idea, but now that its build it does dissapoint me. So many handrails, facade isn't good, its a bit bouring that the walkpath inside and on the roof is the same, not surprising to enter... the statue isn't interesting, I lived 6 years in brussels before i saw "manneke pis". Anyway, Uk pavilion is the best

jw · May 01, 2010

the mermaid looks a little bit out of place. but i mean of course, cause it is, but still it looks just a bit weird.

but i'm guessing the pavilion is still partly unfinished since its all white and everything.

Carlos · May 01, 2010

Is this a fetishism, that we want building to look like renderings? in that sense architecture is all about the image?

op · May 05, 2010 11:30 PM

I beleave that renders are part of the analysis. If in the first step of designing you had an image and it remained the same, that means that you wasn't working with the project enough. All projects should change when you start working more detail it's part of the process. what about models? should they show final result, or analyse the idea and help to develop it? I beleave that only commercial developers can make renders in "how it will be" style.
sorry for my english

JNK · May 02, 2010 12:43 AM

the renderings are supposed to show how the architecture will look like. I don´t understand what is wrong about a building that looks like it was meant to and, also, especially this project (as well as the most of BIG projects) is not only about the image, but about the idea. And find the schematic look fresh and playful.

jacob · May 01, 2010 06:48 PM

or about honesty...

roo · May 01, 2010

you people are strange... please explain what's so great about this pavilion? i would rate the Brazilian pavilion of superior quality than this pedestrian attempt to build a diagram.... it exposes how rubbish the whole idea really was in the first place....

Pedro · May 01, 2010

And Niemeyer of course!

Pedro · May 01, 2010

A nice tribute to Siza and his project in S.Paulo, fundação Iberê Camargo. But this is the good thing in architecture, references and RE-Invention.
Nice project!

abe · May 01, 2010 11:52 PM

Tribute to Siza, really??? Come on...
Ah, and Ibere Camargo is from Porto Alegre, not S. Paulo!

H · May 01, 2010

It has nice moments but it has way too much white and no nice details, looks like the physical models he always presents just got scale in size but not in details. In addition the skin looks dull. It sounds nice that "the steel of the facade is perforated in a pattern that reflects the actual structural stresses" but the result is not that impressive or stunning. I assume the perforations with the skyline of the city didn't work? Overall I do like it because of the concept, but the final product is just hard to digest after seeing the renders and diagrams earlier. If you get to see images of the construction process they are great by the way. Thanks for the images AD

gerson1 · May 01, 2010

Nice job'but how it reflects Denmark?

Sanjeev Sabharwal · February 15, 2011 09:56 PM

I think it's mainly the cycle path and the Little Mermaid

Bruno Orlando · May 16, 2010 07:21 PM

Take a look at his keynote at TED. He explains it:

kim · May 01, 2010 06:51 PM

it has free bikes and a mermaid ;)
does anyone know if this pavilion is permanent or not ?

leon · May 01, 2010

wow ,whiter & brighter than i thought.

smartwoodhouse · May 01, 2010

BIG??????????????????????????????????Bjarke ingels????YES IS MORE?????????????????????????????

plots · May 01, 2010

what happened to the city facade?

carlos · April 28, 2010

anyway, amazing job BIG.

carlos · April 28, 2010

great, great, great pavilion. to me, is by far the best, but ...

i think it looks better in the renderings and diagrams, as opposed to the finished building. i've lost something in the images.

i think that the facade holes perhaps may not have the same impact than in the renders.

joey · April 28, 2010

looks more Japanese super future then danish...
so whats the taking the place of the mermaid back in cph ?
also i thought a rasterized image of the city was going to be on the facade ?

Tuf Pak · May 04, 2010 09:29 AM

Chinese artist/provocateur Ai Wei Wei has designed a video installation that is in the harbor.

I haven't seen it...but i'm assuming that after his detention and beating by Sichuan "thugs" he's probably not being too confrontational with it.

that's what she · April 28, 2010

so sexy!

bjarke ingels · March 11, 2012 01:49 AM

Ow yes I am!

robledo duarte · April 28, 2010

Good architecture needs no words, that´s the case....

nka · April 28, 2010

in general, i think of this as a great idea, especially for the "pavilion" scheme.
however, it seems to me that the linear space ends up being a little bit boring sometimes -no further resolution has been thought of perhaps?

the "perfect curve" is also not well constructed, I guess this is due to a fast construction process (I don't know if in China construction lacks quality most of the time?).

the structural scheme is fantastic! has anyone found any more information on that?

ted · May 04, 2010 05:33 AM

true what takes 4 years in Europe to finish the construction takes only 1 years in China, and what lasts 400 years in Europe lasts 10 years or alike in China.

Formula · April 28, 2010

Amazing... there`s no other word

bjarke ingels · March 11, 2012 01:49 AM

Thank you !

cathode · April 28, 2010

great job BIG!
this is an amzing piece of architecture!!!

bjarke ingels · March 11, 2012 01:48 AM



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丹麦馆, 2010年上海世博会 / BIG