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How I Built A New China: A talk with Expo 2010 Planner Siegfried Zhiqiang Wu

"We need a new generation of cities in China" - Siegfried Zhiqiang Wu

As the tide of urbanization sweeps across most of the developing areas in China, the building frenzy has become a Chinese phenomenon. Some people are making money from it, some people are getting power from it, and some people are worrying about it. Recently, a new set of policies and reports have been published by the Chinese central government, and the whole society seems to be boosted by the new talk of a Chinese Dream. But, what is really happening inside China? Can it absorb this enormous growth? And, will urbanization continue in a proper way?

As the chief planner of the 2010 Shanghai Expo, Siegfried Zhiqiang Wu has been deeply involved for years in many of China’s main urbanization projects. It was almost midnight when we met Professor Wu in Shanghai, and although Wu had just gotten off a night flight from Beijing, his passion, frankness and intelligence remained undoubtedly impressive. In the following edited talk with interviewer Juan Yan, Professor Wu discusses China's dramatic urbanization, its architectural culture and the future of smart cities.

Shanghai’s Pudong District on the Rise

Photo by Shreyans Bhansali -
Photo by Shreyans Bhansali -

With nearly 23 million people, Shanghai is China’s biggest and most populous city. It is the financial and commercial capital of the country and a leading cultural center in Asia. Throughout the 1990′s and 2000′s the city underwent immense growth and redevelopment, thriving on international business. The futuristic and ambitious skyline of Pudong is the heart of Shanghai’s business district, and is growing swiftly with towering skyscrapers and an advanced urban environment. More pictures and information after the break.

German Pavilion / Shanghai 2010 Expo

Here’s another great time lapse video from Seppe, this time walking us through the German Pavilion in Shanghai designed by Schmidhuber + Kaindl GmbH (more Shanghai coverage here).  Entitled Balancity, the pavilion is designed by Lennart Wiechell and at 6,000 m2, it is the country’s largest structure at any exposition.  The building’s geometric mass was conceived as a three dimensional sculpture and the form wraps certain spaces which showcase different aspects of Germany.  As you can see in the video, the pavilion includes a  central energy source, a  factory-like section, an opera and cultural section, and even a park.   The areas show Germany’s technological progressions and products meant to help solve urbanization problems, and visitors slowly glide past certain installations on moving walkways.    Unlike other countries’ pavilions that seem to work off of one cohesive theme, the German pavilion seems much more “busy” – it is a conglomeration of many different ideas and products with lots to see at each turning corner.   What do you think of Balancity?

Check out other videos Seppe has shared with us like his British Pavilion time lapse or his Denmark Pavilion video.  Full list of credits after the break.

"Felicity: Change your city, change your life" International Competition

The aim of the project is to encourage reflections about the life in a community, an occasion for graphic designers and architects from all over the world to express, demonstrate and imagine possible solutions for a city, capable to improve the life of its inhabitants.

Ride the Danish pavilion in Shanghai

We have seen the Danish pavilion on its conceptual stage, during construction, completed and finally opened to the public.

Italian Pavilion / Shanghai 2010

For those of us not able to experience the Shanghai 2010 Expo in person, we hope these great photos by IODICEARCHITETTI of the Italian Pavilion will help convey the spirit of the project.

Check out more photographs after the break.

Monaco Pavilion / NAÇO Architecture

Copyright Hu Wenkit
Copyright Hu Wenkit

As the previous pavilions we have featured on AD for the World Expo 2010 illustrate, the exhibition is, undoubtedly, a giant testing ground to experiment with the latest avant-garde design concepts. In late March, we featured Naço Architectures pavilion and we have just be informed of some details of the facade treatment.  The facade’s main focus was to capitalize on Monaco’s seemingly eternal presence of sun and sea. Designed so visitors will experience different lighting effects, the pavilion’s prominent water screen casts its reflections on and around the pavilion’s façade, “to symbolize a country surrounded by sea and sunshine and attached to respect its environment.”

More images and more about the facade after the break.

The “German-Chinese House” at the Shanghai World Expo 2010

The event series “Germany and China – Moving Ahead Together” presents itself in spectacular fashion during its sixth and last station: the Expo 2010 in Shanghai. Designed by Markus Heinsdorff, the “German-Chinese House” is not only the architectural highlight of its Expo presence; it is also a forward-looking example for the use of natural construction material. It is the only two-storey building at the Expo whose load-bearing structures are made of bamboo. The building is an artistic encounter with the theme of sustainable urbanisation, which was the focus of the three-year event series from 2007 to 2010.

More images and architect’s description after the break.

Shanghai 2010: The Pavilions Part II


It seems that this week everything is about Shanghai. The World Expo 2010 starts in three days and the pavilions are ready. Yesterday, we featured some amazing photos that Chaz Hutton took at the Expo. Today, David Goss shared with us many more, and even a video inside the UK’s Pavilion. Check them out after the break!

Flickr Video

AD Round Up: Shanghai Pavilions Part V

Only four days left to the grand opening and the pavilions of the Shanghai World Expo 2010 should be ready to receive thousands of visitors each day. We’ve been featuring a lot of pavilions but there is still a lot to cover, so we hope to bring you more on the Expo in the next few days (like a good preview of many pavilions ready later today). Meanwhile, check some of our latest ones, after the break.

Dutch Pavilion for Shanghai World Expo 2010 The Dutch submission to the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai is an exceptional one. This time around, it will not be the classic pavilion with long lines of visitors waiting outside and a presentation inside. The Netherlands is making its appearance at China’s world exposition along an entire street. The submission, entitled “Happy Street”, is the response by designer John Kormeling to the Chinese Expo theme “Better City, Better Life” and the sub-themes (read more…)

Norway Pavilion for Shanghai World Expo 2010

Expo 2010 Shanghai is the first World Fair to adopt sustainable urban development as its theme. As consequence concepts which legitimise the extensive resource use and major investment of a World Fair must be promoted. The basic concept of “Norway Powered by Nature”, designed by Helen & Hard, directly engages this challenge, placing emphasis and awareness on multiple aspects of sustainability.

More images and architect’s description after the break.

Brazil Pavilion for Shanghai World Expo 2010 update

There’s only one week left for the grand opening of Shanghai’s World Expo 2010, and as you may know, we’ve been featuring many pavilion’s (all the pavilions here). One of the first ones was the Brazilian Pavilion designed by Fernando Brandão Arquitetura e Design.

With more than 80 comments, it became one of the most controversial and discussed pavilions. At Fernando Brandão they followed the discussion and now they wanted to show you the complete project. More images, drawings and the architect’s description after the break.

Dutch Pavilion for Shanghai World Expo 2010

The Dutch submission to the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai is an exceptional one. This time around, it will not be the classic pavilion with long lines of visitors waiting outside and a presentation inside. The Netherlands is making its appearance at China’s world exposition along an entire street. The submission, entitled “Happy Street”, is the response by designer John Kormeling to the Chinese Expo theme “Better City, Better Life” and the sub-themes:

- Urban cultural diversity - Urban economic growth and prosperity - Innovation in science and technology in urban contexts - Remodelling urban communities - Interaction between urban and rural areas.

Find out more about Holland’s pavilion right here. More images and a video after the break.

AD Round Up: Shanghai Pavilions Part IV

It’s getting closer and closer. Shanghai World Expo 2010 is around the corner and we want to remind you some pavilions we’ve been featuring in the post. Check our fourth selection after the break!

French Pavillion

Jacques Ferrier Architects were selected to design the French Pavillion at Shanghai Expo 2010. Their project ‘The Sensual City’ is a simple building with a big style French garden inside. Surrounded by water it appears to be floating. The 6000 square meter pavillion will use advanced building materials and environmental protection technology including solar panels on top of the roof (read more…)

Latvia Pavilion for Shanghai World Expo 2010

Latvian architects Mailītis A.I.I.M., were selected to design the Latvian Pavilion for this year’s Shanghai World Expo. Construction started in the end of 2009.

More images and architect’s description after the break.

Sweden Pavilion for Shanghai World Expo 2010

As the key words “Sustainability, Innovation and Communication” cornerstones, the Swedish Pavilion, designed by SWECO, showcases how the nation’s spirit of innovation solves problems, improves the urban environment and living standards, and demonstrates the importance of communication under the new technology situation.

The pavilion comprises four cube-like structures that are arranged to form a cross-like space between them — a shape much like Sweden’s flag when seen from above.The outside walls show a city-like grid; the inside walls are covered with images of nature. These cubes are connected by elevated walkways, and house the exhibition,VIP areas, a shop, a café, and a large covered courtyard — room enough for everyone.

More images and description after the break.

Hong Kong Pavilion for Shanghai 2010 / Ida and Billy

The theme of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo is “Better City, Better Life”, and the special theme for the Hong Kong Pavilion is “Hong Kong – a city with unlimited potential“. A concept design competition was held in 2008 and received some 80+ submissions. Ida & Billy’s submission was awarded the Frist Prize, and formed the basis for the final design and execution by the government and another architectural firm.

Their design is driven by the functional needs of the pavilion, that is how to provide the required exhbition space and other facilities within a limited space and with a height limit; and to make the Hong Kong Pavilion, which is much smaller in size than the other pavilions, to still have its own attraction and uniqness.

More images and full architect’s description after the break.

Romania Pavillion for Shanghai World Expo 2010

The concept design competition for the Romania Pavilion, “Exchange of Ideas”, was won by SC M&C Strategy Development who designed Greenopolis, “The green mega polis”. Name of the pavilion is term with universal meaning, metamorphosed in a fruit, the apple, which means health, knowledge, freshness, temptation, eternity. The surrounding Greenopolis landscape recreates principal elements of the nature (the lawn from the hills, rivers, grass).

The apple is divided in two parts: the main body from which is detached a slice, the secondary body. The inside architectural design has generous and multifunctional spaces, disposed on 5 floors and the access in Greenopolis follows a natural line which allows visiting all the modules without passing over any zone. Seen at Big Creative Industries. More images after the break.