Construction has completed on the UNStudio-designed World Horticultural Expo Theme Pavilion in Qingdao, China. The firm was selected for the project through a competition in 2011 and worked in collaboration with !melk landscape architecture, Theateradvies bv and Arup.
The World Horticultural Expo 2014 takes place the Chinese city of Qingdao from April to October 2014 and is expected to attract 15 million international visitors. The main theme of the Expo is ‘From the Earth, For the Earth’ and aims to encourage the exchange of culture, technology and horticultural knowledge. The Theme Pavilion operates as the platform for monthly programmed and seasonally themed activities, featuring flowers in spring, shading in summer, fruits in autumn and greens in winter.
UNStudio’s Ben van Berkel commented: “The architecture for the Theme Pavilion overflows and interacts with the surrounding landscape. The forms of the pavilion buildings respond to the nearby mountains, with their carefully composed rooftops acting as plateaus, each addressing a different portion of the master plan by different inclination and terracing and providing panoramic views which extend far into the surrounding landscape.”
The 28,000 sq m Theme Pavilion comprises the main Expo hall, a grand performance hall, a conference centre and a media centre. The architectural design gesture for the pavilion is borrowed from the shape of the Chinese rose - the city flower of Qingdao - and converted into the floor plan layout of the design. The four pavilion volumes or ‘petals’ are connected by internal and external walkways and frame a central square which becomes a ‘stage’ for the visitors: a dynamic focal point surrounded by viewpoints on varying levels.
van Berkel continues: “The flowering out concept is integrated into the design of the Theme Pavilion as a gesture of communication. Similarly to how it occurs in nature, the action of flowering out in architecture attracts and invites through the senses. It alludes to the notion that that a building can open itself up and encourage public interaction.”
‘Rainbow Ribbons’ provide the routing and infrastructure for the expo and permeate the surrounding landscape. This colour concept is further reflected in the facade elements which are constructed from vertically folded aluminium panels. The four theme colours (green, yellow, orange and blue) are applied along the lengths of the vertical folds, appearing and disappearing depending on the viewpoint.
Architects: UNStudio - Ben van Berkel, Hannes Pfau, Gerard Loozekoot with Markus van Aalderen, Joerg Petri, Milena Stopic and Yu-Chen Liu, Cong Ye, Irina Bogdan, Xing Xiong, Maud van Hees, ShuoJiong Zhang, Philipp Mecke, Maya Alam, Yu-Chen Liu, Junjie Yan, Gilles Greis, Subhajit Das, Erwin Horstmanshof, Faiz Zohri, Andrew Brown, Patrik Noomé, Amanda Chan, Nanang Santoso
Landscape Architect: !melk landscape architecture PC, New York
Theater Advisor: Theateradvies bv, Amsterdam
Structure: Arup, Amsterdam
MEP: Arup, Hong Kong
Structure engineering: Qingdao Architectural Design Institute (QUADI)
MEP engineering: Qingdao Architectural Design Institute (QUADI)
Façade engineering: Senyang Yuanda Aluminium Industry Engineering CO.,LTD-Special Project Group.
Lighting designers: Tsinghua Tongfang
Local Architect: Qingdao Architectural Design Institute Corporation