ARCHITECT: HEATHERWICK STUDIO

What: Thomas Heatherwick of London-based architects Heatherwick Studio refers to his office’s design for the UK Pavilion as a “seed cathedral,” a reference to the fact that a seed is encased at the end of each of the 60,000 fibre optic rods that punctuate its structure. During the day, these rods draw light inside the building while at night, light sources inside each rod allow the whole structure to glow. Most impressively, the fibre optic “hairs” gently move in the wind.

The architects established three aims in their design strategy for the pavilion: to design a structure whose architecture was a direct manifestation of what it was exhibiting; to ensure a significant area of open public space around it so visitors could see it clearly; and to create a pavilion that would be unique among other competitors.

In a recent interview, Edwin Heathcote, the Financial Times’ architecture critic, asked Heatherwick what is the point of the Expo. He response: “That’s a bit like asking what’s the point of a festival? Or what’s the point of a party? The whole is not to define the outcome too precisely but to bring people together. It’s a party for countries.”

Heatherwick’s pavilion is generally considered to be the most successful in Shanghai by both architecture critics and Expo visitors.

www.heatherwick.com
www.ukshanghaiexpo.com