Expo architecture: a rendezvous of cultures (2)

14:59, April 29, 2010      

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Visitors queue to enter the Japan Pavilion in the World Expo Park in Shanghai, east China, April 24, 2010. The structure nicknamed "pod" combines traditional Japanese knowledge for living in harmony with the environment with the latest environmental control and materials technology. (Xinhua/Wang Song)

"The Expo pavilions offered us an opportunity to get a taste of the urban dreams of different cultures," said Mira Green, from the United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom's stunning 25-million-pound dandelion-like pavilion and the crown-shaped China Pavilion, nicknamed the "big stove," are among the most popular buildings.

The 20-meter-high UK pavilion is covered by more than 60,000 transparent acrylic filaments, each holding a seed from Kew Garden's Millennium Seed Bank - a worldwide project to preserve a quarter of the world's plant species - and quivering in the breeze.

"Nothing has more potential than seeds," said designer Thomas Heatherwick, who hoped to convey a new image of the UK to the world, especially the Chinese, that breaks the conventional concept of "a gentleman with hat, stick and cigar."

"The Expo pavilions are like an architectural fashion show," said Expo theme consultant Xia Jun.

"The buildings are like the clothes. They might not be copied directly in daily life, but they showcase different ideas, creativity, and people's aspirations for the future. And these might inspire other architects."

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