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

The main entrance of the 2010 Expo. Image © Weixuan Wei

“We need a new generation of cities in China” -

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 - http://www.flickr.com/photos/thebigdurian/

With nearly 23 million people, 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 ’s business district, and is growing swiftly with towering skyscrapers and an advanced urban environment. More pictures and information after the break.

Shanghai Expo 2010 Draws to a Close

Sadly,  Shanghai’s Expo 2010 ended yesterday after 184 exciting days.  Throughout the course of the exhibition, over 73 million people experienced great pavilions from countries across the world and we’ve brought you coverage of projects ranging from videos to project descriptions to photographs.  In these past months, we’ve shared a few of our reader Seppe’s videos with you (check out his German Pavilion, UK Pavilion, and Denmark Pavilion clips, previously featured on AD) and today we’re sharing his latest bit on the Swiss Pavilion.

The Expo, which opened on May 1st, allowed visitors to experience a taste of different cultures all arranged within the Expo’s 5.28-square-kilometer site.  From the beginning, the Expo was a hit.  Thousands flocked to the site on a daily basis, with the largest daily attendance hitting more than 1.03 million visitors on October 16th – breaking the record attendance set at the Osaka Expo back in 1970 for 844,000 on a single day.   As Yang Jian reported for the Expo, “Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan said the Expo has made China and the world come closer together, and that a more open, inclusive and culturally advanced China that steadily moves forward will join other countries to usher in an ever brighter future for all.”

Only five structures will remain (the China Pavilion, the Culture Center, the Expo Center, the Theme Pavilions and Expo Boulevard) and with all the dazzling lights, amazing forms, and elaborate material skins dismantled, the site will now become a cultural, business and commercial center.

German Pavilion / Shanghai 2010 Expo

Here’s another great time lapse video from Seppe, this time walking us through the in Shanghai designed by Schmidhuber + Kaindl GmbH (more Shanghai coverage here).  Entitled Balancity, the 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 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 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.

The graphic works (poster 70 x 100 and 100 x 70) will be selected by a jury of experts and will be exhibited in October in together with Expo and The Biennial of Architecture. For more information, visit the competition’s official website. Seen at Bustler.

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.

And now we got the chance to “ride” it with Bjarke Ingels from BIG, and get a closer look at the experience that the giant loop of the pavilion offers to the visitors, to have a little taste of the danish way of life.

Denmark Pavilion / Shanghai 2010

Take a look at this video on the Danish Pavilion (thanks again, Seppe!) and be sure to view yesterday’s on the UK Pavilion.  The Shanghai 2010 Expo is in full swing and several of the pavilions are living up to their expectations.  Which pavilion is your favorite?

British Pavilion / Shanghai 2010 Expo

We’ve been covering the Shanghai 2010 Expo a lot on ArchDaily, and our reader Seppe shared some videos of the pavilions with us.  Today, we’re featuring a cool video on one of our favorites, the UK (be sure to read about the project featured previously on AD) and be on the look out for more videos contributed by Seppe this week.

Italian Pavilion / Shanghai 2010

© IODICEARCHITETTI

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

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 ’s prominent water screen casts its reflections on and around the ’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.

Shenzhen case pavilion at UBPA, Expo Shanghai 2010 / Urbanus

© Courtesy of Architecture & Design Inc

Chinese practice Urbanus (previously featured at ArchDaily with their Jade Bamboo Culture Plaza, the Integrated Teaching Building in the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Tulou Housing Guangzhou) shared with us the exhibition design for the city Shenzhen at the UBPA (Urban Best Practice Area), an exhibit aligned with the 2010′s main theme “Better City, Better Life”, which tracks how major cities around the world are coping with the new problems arising from their urbanization processes,  as well as their effective and creative solutions, making it as highly specialized exhibition space.

The city of Shenzhen evolved from a small fishing village to an international center in only 30 years, a complex process presented at this pavilion:

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

The event series “ and China – Moving Ahead Together” presents itself in spectacular fashion during its sixth and last station: the Expo 2010 in . 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.

UK Pavilion for Shanghai World Expo 2010 Video

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The UK Pavilion for Shanghai World Expo 2010 is one of the people’s favorite (if not the most). We featured yesterday the pavilion’s details with some amazing photos and plans. Now, we could not pass the opportunity to show you this amazing video of the pavilion made by Channelbeta. The video was published by a reader in our Facebook group!

Denmark Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010 / BIG

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The Shanghai 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.

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.

© Iwan Baan

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”.

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:

UK Pavilion for Shanghai World Expo 2010 / Heatherwick Studio

© Daniele Mattioli

When we featured the first renders of the Pavilion back on August, 2009, many readers doubt that Heatherwick Studio’s design could be done (or at least look like the renders). The Shanghai World Expo 2010 has started and the UK Pavilion has become a favorite to many of you. Now you can see the complete projects.

More images, plans and architect’s description after the break.

Saudi Arabia Pavilion for Shanghai World Expo 2010

The for Shanghai World Expo 2010, which starts in two days, is a combine effort of Chinese and Saudi designers. The pavilion has a “moon boat” shape and is surrounded by deserts and seas, just like Saudi Arabia. Along with the 150 date palms that are now planted in the pavilion, it’s main attraction is a huge IMAX screen. The 1,600-square-meter screen is larger than any other cinema screen on earth. Short films will be presented on the screen.

You can see more images and a video after the break.

Shanghai 2010: The Pavilions Part II

Portugal

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 ’s . Check them out after the break!

Flickr Video

Shanghai 2010 Boulevard / SBA international + Knippers Helbig

© Courtesy of

Architects: SBA international Stuttgart/Shanghai
Location: , China
Structural Engineers: Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineering
Managing Partners: Hong Li and Bianca Nitsch
Client: Shanghai World EXPO Land Holding Co. Ltd., Shanghai
Managing Partners: Prof. Dr. Jan Knippers, Dipl.-Ing. Thorsten Helbig
Contributors: Florian Scheible, Florian Kamp, Dirk Richter, Roman Schieber, Johannes Beran
Cooperation: ECADI, Shanghai, China
Gross Floor Area: 280,000 sqm
Membrane Roof Area: 65,000 sqm
Project Year: 2006-2010
Photographs: Thomas Ott, Wilfried Dechau, Knippers Helbig