The World Horticultural Expo Theme Pavilion in Qingdao borrows its shape from the Chinese rose.
“From the Earth, For the Earth” is the main theme of the 2014 World Horticultural Expo, which is currently being held in the Chinese city of Qingdao.
With that in mind, UNStudio has designed the Expo’s theme pavilion to engage with its hilly terrain.
“The architecture of 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,” says UNStudio’s co-founder Ben van Berkel.
The 28,000sqm Theme Pavilion comprises the main Expo hall, a grand performance hall, a conference centre and a media centre. The architectural design gesture draws its inspiration from the Chinese rose – the city flower of Qingdao – and is converted into the floor plan layout of the design.
The four pavilion volumes or ‘petals’ are connected via internal and external walkways and frame a central square which becomes a ‘stage’ for visitors: a dynamic focal point surrounded by viewpoints on varying levels.
Ben van Berkel calls this a “flowering out concept”, one that 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 a building can open itself up and encourage interaction,” explains van Berkel.
‘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. Green, yellow, orange and blue are applied along the lengths of the vertical folds, appearing and disappearing depending on one’s viewpoint.
The Theme Pavilion holds monthly programmed and seasonally themed activities and is expected to attract more than 6,000 visitors daily from around the world.
Following the World Horticultural Expo, which ends its run in October, the landscaped themed expo park will become a venue for eco-tourism.
With that in mind, UNStudio – together with the organisers – has incorporated as much as possible future lifecycle into the design of the Theme Pavilion by allowing a transformation of the buildings into a hotel building, with conference and teaching facilities.
Photos © Edmon Leong