Friday, 28 October 2011

Are Architectural Expo's Sustainable?

On the 28th October 2011 John Chilton gave a lecture in NTU titled Shanghai Reflections. The lecture was a description of his experience when visiting the expo and was delivered as a series of photos of the pavilion that most interested him and that would be most relevant to a class of mixed architectural students.

The title of the expo was Better City, Better life and the purpose of the expo is to promote architecture and to attract 70 million people to Shanghai to enjoy the different cultures of 200 countries. The majority of the pavilions were dismantled after the expo so this begs the question whether or not it is sustainable to construct so many temporary structures on such a large scale.

All of the structures focused on the buzz word of the time which is sustainability. Even the oil pavilion has used materials derived from oil in a new green processing method. The Spanish pavilion was the most appealing in my opinion as it was completely clad from the traditional method of basket making called wicker weaving.
The more permanent structures such as the impressive entrance to the Expo and the China building have also used as much sustainable materials as possible. The China pavilion used dougong panels which are the traditional cladding to Chinese buildings which date back to over 2000 years ago.

Mr Chilton's favorite feature of the expo was the main entrance which consisted of a steel frame formed in polygonal shapes and then made watertight using a PTFE membrane.

In conclusion the attention to architecture brought by these expo's and the revenue created by the large number of visitors justify their existance. The promotion of different cultures and the massive commercial benifits created for businesses such as the Heatherwick Studio, who designed the United Kingdoms pavilion.

The next 2012 World Expo is in Yeosu, Korea and is themed "living ocean and the coast" and here of some of the designs we can look forward to:

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