Exclusive Interview: Plasma Studio on Xi’an International Horticultural Expo

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In conjunction with our recent coverage of the Xi’an International Horticultural Expo, we would like to share Aidan Flaherty’s interview with Holger Kehne, co-principle of Plasma Studio and GroundLabPlasma Studio, and LAUR Studio worked together to win this international competition with a 37-hectare master plan for the International Horticultural Expo, a 5,000SM Exhibition Hall, a 4,000SM Greenhouse, and a 3,500SM Gate Building. The project initiated the re-development of a large area between the airport and the center of the ancient city of Xi’an – known as the home of the Terracotta Army of the Qin Dynasty.

The Expo opened in the spring of 2011 and welcomed more than 16 million visitors before it closed in the fall of 2011. The Expo park will remain as a new contemporary addition to the Xi’an region. The particularities of this legacy plan are currently underway. Holger Kehne discusses his firms’ unique design methodologies and multidisciplinary approach while working on this large-scale project. Read the interview after the break.

Update: Xi’an International Horticultural Expo 2011

© Aidan Flaherty

Throughout the past year we have been keeping you updated on the events leading up to the commencement of the Xi’an International Horticultural Expo which ran from May through October 2011 and welcomed over 15 million visitors during its 178-day run. As the largest and best attended international horticultural event of 2011, the Expo offered architects and landscape architects the unique opportunity to design for a traditional event model which became the precedent for the world’s fairs of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. To define the expo’s primary experience, the organizers held an international competition, selecting the “Flowing Gardens” project by London-based design firm Plasma Studio and GroundLab. Developed in collaboration with the local landscape practice LAUR Studio, “Flowing Gardens” is comprised of a 37 hectare master plan, including a 5,000SM Creativity Pavilion, a 4,000SM Greenhouse, a 3,500SM Gate Building and various landscapes which run along an extended spine that delineates the site. The project initiated the redevelopment of a large area of Xi’an between the airport and the city’s ancient center, famous as the home of the Terracotta Army of the Qin Dynasty. More after the break.

VIDEO: Xian Expo / Plasma Studio + Groundlab, by Cristobal Palma

Photographer Cristobal Palma shared with us the extended version of his video of the Xi’an Expo, a project by Plasma Studio that we saw during several stages, from the award winning entry in 2009, to conceptual design and opening, when it was visited by more than 200,000 people on the first weekend.

The Expo embodies the idea of transformation as the site was formerly a sandpit where the water was severely degraded during the 1980s.  Efforts over the past two decades have restored the ecosystem and now the Expo is able to demonstrate what can be accomplished through the use of the most advanced technology, ideas, and materials, as seen on the video. As we reported earlier, the 37 ha complex includes three buildings that are interconnected with a dynamic landscape of unfolding paths and networks of water, circulation and foliage.

More videos by Cristobal Palma at ArchDaily:

Dug by Topotek1

Courtesy of

For the 2011 Xi’an International Horticultural Exposition, the Berlin-based landscape architecture office Topotek1 “dug” a hole to the other side of the world. From its edges visitors to this garden in can peer into a real or imagined world at the end of the tunnel. Whether these are the cows from the pampas of Argentinas, commuters rushing among transit through New York City, the maritime life of Stockholm, and layers of history so audible among the streets of Berlin. These soundtracks pique the imagination of the visitors, transferring them away from , away from the garden,” and into a far-off place.

Update: Xi’an Expo 2011 Officially Opens

and Huashang Newspaper

The Xi’an Expo 2011 has officially opened and, as expected, the international horticultural event has attracted a staggering 200,000 in just the first weekend! We’ve been covering the Expo beginning with Plasma Studio + ’s conceptual design, and we have been featuring updates about the project over the course of the last few months.  The Expo embodies the idea of transformation as the site was formerly a sandpit where the water was severely degraded during the 1980s.   Efforts over the past two decades have restored the ecosystem and now the Expo is able to demonstrate what can be accomplished through the use of the most advanced technology, ideas, and materials.  As we reported earlier, the 37 ha complex includes three buildings that are interconnected with a dynamic landscape of unfolding paths and networks of water, circulation and foliage.

More images after the break.

Update: Xi’an International Horticultural Exhibition / 10,000 Bridges / West 8 + DYJG Beijing

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Continuing our coverage of Xi’an Horticultural Exposition, a new garden exhibition by Dutch firm West 8 with has recently opened at the expo. Entitled Garden of 10,000 Bridges, the project features gently curving red bridges that are speckled across a wild landscape.  According to the designers, “As both a distinct sense of enclosure and vantage points are provided, the Garden plays with the sensation of surprise. In the design advantage is taken of the strategic, central position of the plot, and views to other parts of the exhibition are integrated with those to the features of the park and surrounding landscape.”

More about the project after the break.

Update: Xi’an International Horticultural Expo 2011

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With only 16 days until opening day, the city of Xi’an, is preparing for one of the largest international horticultural events of the year. Unified under the exhibition’s theme of “Eternal Peace and Harmony between Nature and Mankind,” the 418 hectares of well crafted landscape and landmark architecture are rooted in cultural symbolism and designed to illustrate the city’s promising future. Twelve million guests are expected to visit Xi’an and experience the exposition’s new perspective about the harmonious coexistence between human and nature, city and nature.

More about the architecture of the exposition after the break.