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Best Designed Pavilions (Architecture)

  • Sep 27, 2010
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Since I've not ventured into every single pavilion at the Expo, this list merely comprises of a pavilion exterior look. Some has excellent concept while some are pleasing to the eyes. However, as a friend said, don't judge the book by its covers. On this list are some nice-looking pavilions but they may not be the best when it comes to the interior. It's a case of lack of substance, imho. In any case, these are some of the best looking ones... 
Korea Pavilion (Expo 2010)
It's most complex and unique. One that has Korean writings all over it. I think it is the most unique building I've come across. The building is 3 stories and comprised of 20 basic letters of the Korean alphabets. Beautiful both in the day & night! One cannot begin to grasp the complexity of this architecture with a mere picture.

Pavilion Facts:
Theme: Friendly City, Colorful Life
Highlights: Basic Letters of the ROK Alphabet
National Pavilion Day: May 26
Pavilion Area: Around 6,000 Square Meters 
Location: Within Zone A of the Expo site 

Saudi Arabia Pavilion (Expo 2010)
The most expensive pavilion and the most imposing one at the Expo. It is a "moon-ship" structure with the largest IMAX theater housed within. If there is a way to flaunt one's wealth, this is the way to go! Most spectacular in the night!

Pavilion Facts:
Theme: Vitality of Life
Highlights: Moon Boat
National Pavilion Day: September 23 
Pavilion Area: Around 6,000 Square Meters
Location: Within Zone A of the Expo site 

Poland Pavilion (Expo 2010)
One of the most unique in the Expo ground. I love the originality of this pavilion. Inside, it looks great too although there really isn't much to do. Simply take some pictures and that's about it! The design attempts to mirror " the combination of modernity and folk art, representing the creativity and imagination of Poland." Well done, Poland!

Pavilion Facts
Theme: Human, Creativity & the City
National Pavilion DayMay 22
Pavilion AreaApproximately 3,000 Square Meters
LocationZone C of the Expo site
United Kingdom Pavilion
"The first World Expo came about in the United Kingdom and was then known as the Great Exhibition, held in the Crystal Palace at Hyde Park. This majestic metal-and-glass edifice was not only home to the extravaganza display of products from all over the world, but was also the iconic symbol of the world fair, being considered one of the most beautiful structures in the world until a fire destroyed it half a century ago. Now, the United Kingdom has brought to Expo visitors a new version of the Crystal Palace – a dazzling cube formed by more than 60,000 slim and transparent acrylic rods containing seeds of different plants that were collected in a bio-diversity project."

The UK Pavilion speaks of originality of design and idea. It is small yet unique. It is a piece of art! This one blows my mind away. It certainly takes a certain mindset to appreciate this piece of architecture!

If you can't view the video, please go to: http://vimeo.com/10774063

Pavilion Facts:
ThemeBuilding on the Past, Shaping Our Future
HighlightsSeed Cathedral, Wrapping Paper
National Pavilion DaySeptember 8
Pavilion AreaAround 6,000 Square Meters 
LocationWithin Zone C of the Expo Site 
Spain Pavilion (Expo 2010)
The vibrancy of Spain is being displayed fully with its use of rattan. The Spain Pavilion is "designed to be a hand-weaved wicker basket structure supported by the steel framework inside. "The Basket," as some have dubbed the pavilion, is "dressed" in more than 8,000 wicker panels in brown, beige, and black. Wicker weaving is a tradition in both Spain and China and the pavilion is like a bridge connecting the two nations. The panels were handmade by craftsmen in Shandong Province, each one unique in design."

The most interesting item to look out for in this pavilion is the gigantic baby which can smile and cry. It was pure fun to see what technology could do!

Pavilion Facts: 
ThemeFrom the City of Our Parents to the City of Our Children
DesignerBenedetta Tagliabue
National Pavilion DayAugust 30
Pavilion AreaAround 6,000 sq m
LocationWithin Zone C of the Expo Site 
Russia Pavilion (Expo 2010)
Russia has one of the most interesting structures with some irregular patterns on its roof. These irregular shaped 20 m high towers look awesome especially in the night. According to Expo, the Russian Pavilion highlights "Unique Design With their irregular shapes, these 20-meter towers are located among the natural landscapes of a green lawn and water. Taking a close look, visitors will find that these towers form a circle that takes after the formation of a famous Russian dance. The roofs of the towers are decorated with hollow pictures in colors widely used for traditional Russian garments, symbolizing the integration of various ethnic groups in the country."

Pavilion Facts:
Theme: New Russia: City and Citizen
National Pavilion day: September 28
Pavilion Area: Around 6000 sq m
Location: Zone C of the Expo Site

Denmark Pavilion (Expo 2010)
Minimalistic and artistic design renders this pavilion one of the most beautiful. The regrettable thing is there isn't much to do or see inside, unless you're a big fan of the Little mermaid!
"The pavilion paints its steel structure white, to represent the sailing traditions of the country and to help keep the pavilion cool."

Pavilion Facts:
Theme: Welfairytales
Highlights: Double Spiral
National Pavilion Day: June 29
Pavilion Area: Around 3000 sq m
Location: Within Zone C of the Expo Site

Official Website

China Pavilion (Expo 2010)
The showcase & centerpiece of the Expo. It is painted in red and known as "The Crown of the East," with "a distinctive roof, made of traditional dougong or brackets, which date back more than 2,000 years. The dougong style features wooden brackets fixed layer upon layer between the top of a column and a crossbeam. This unique structural component of interlocking wooden brackets is one of the most important elements in traditional Chinese architecture. Dougong was widely used in the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC-467 BC)."

"The contour design of the pavilion is based on the concept of "Oriental Crown, Splendid China, Ample Barn, and Rich People," to express the spirit and disposition of Chinese culture. The pavilion will have a core exhibition area on the top floor, an experience area on the second and a functional area on the first. China's achievements in urban development from ancient to modern times will be the core theme of the pavilion."
Despite the beauty of this pavilion, to get inside, you must go to the Expo at least 3 hours before its opening hour to get tickets! That means one has to begin queuing around 6 am! What a drag!!!

Pavilion Facts:
ThemeChinese Wisdom in Urban Development
HighlightsTraditional Dougong Style 
National Pavilion DayOctober 1
LocationWithin Zone A of the Expo Site
Japan Pavilion (Expo 2010)
Is it pink or is it purplish? Well, it depends on what time of the day you're looking at it! Anyway, this is "semi-circular structure, covered by a purple membrane material. Several antennae and caves make the pavilion a "breathing organism," which will express the harmony between the human heart and technology. The pavilion has been dubbed "Purple Silkworm Island" by Chinese people." Look out for the robots inside and enjoy the future technology that is to be found in your living room soon! I want that iReal! 

Pavilion Facts:
Theme: Harmony of the Hearts, Harmony of the Skills
Highlights: Breathing Organism
National Pavilion Day: June 12
Location: Within Zone B of the Expo Site
Official Website
See the full review, "The Robot Violinist".
Norway Pavilion (Expo 2010)
"Norway's pavilion, with the theme "Norway, powered by nature," was constructed around 15 model trees made from Norway's pine trees and Chinese bamboo. Wood is widely used as a construction material in Norway while bamboo is the traditional construction material in China. The pavilion aims to present an impression that Norway is a livable place, Norwegians' harmonious relationship with nature, their reverence for nature and how nature has provoked Norway's inspiration. Norway hopes to dedicate each tree to different cities in China."

This pavilion, together with Poland Pavilion, is most beautiful in the night. Its architecture reminds me of the time I spent in Norway!

Pavilion Facts:

ThemeNorway, Powered by Nature
HighlightsWood Structure, 15 Model Trees 
National Pavilion DayMay 28
Pavilion AreaAround 3,000 Square Meters
LocationWithin Zone C of the Expo Site
United Arab Emirates Pavilion (Expo 2010)
Loud, opulent and distinctively Middle East. UAE attempts to showcase its wealth with this pavilion, imho. "The United Arab Emirates Pavilion is a huge golden sand dune inspired by the country's desert. The outer covering of the pavilion is gold-colored stainless steel. Its undulating roof, looking as if it has been shaped by the wind, makes the pavilion shimmer and change colors, reminding visitors of the Middle East country's various natural environments."

Pavilion Facts:
ThemePower of Dreams
HighlightsSand Dune 
National Pavilion DaySeptember 27
Pavilion AreaAround 6,000 Square Meters 
LocationWithin Zone A of the Expo site

What did you think of this list?

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October 04, 2010
As an Interior Designer and architecture enthusiast I would love to have visited these in person, but the closest I got was watching a feature on TV in High Definition... My favorites from your list have got to be Korea, Poland, Spain, Russia, and Norway - though it is hard to pick favorites! Thanks for the list Sharrie!
October 03, 2010
only 1 month left to go see Expo 2010... doesn't look like i'll be making it :( thanks for the list Sharrie!!!
September 30, 2010
This list is missing something.....where's the house I have up on the sun? ;) so happy you're back to creating these lists, Sharrie!
September 30, 2010
Thanks, William! I had half of it on draft since my visit in May and didn't get around to finish it until the last visit last week! ;p There are just other priorities I've to attend to in real life ;-)
September 30, 2010
I just emailed this list to my parents! They're finally going next week :) These are all so cool. I especially love that first one since it's so colorful and lovely. Thanks for sharing!
September 30, 2010
You're most welcome! I hope your parents get fabulous weather when they arrive. I was there again last week on my return to Singapore and it was a tad too hot!
September 30, 2010
One more tip for your parents. Try to take the exterior pictures in the day and only queue to enter after 5 pm. The crowd will be less and queuing time would be shorter too by then.
September 30, 2010
Now that's a great tip! Will definitely let them know that. Thanks!
September 30, 2010
The best tip I could give them to getting around the long queue is to travel with 2 other persons who are above 75 years old! These seniors have green channel for most of the pavilions (ie. priority queue). That will cut down the time by a great deal!
September 30, 2010
LOL, I'll have to tell my parents to make some elderly friends then. Interesting that it's 75 years old over there. Over here, it's 65!
About the list creator
Sharrie ()
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I'm a traveler at heart & have been nicknamed Travel Queen by friends & colleagues alike. Traveling has been my life passion for the last decade or so. As we enter a new decade, I'm excited … more
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