In addition to its central theme of food, the Vanke pavilion will also explore Chinese social issues caused by rapid urbanization such as the feeling of loneliness by aging empty nesters and the alienation of rural children left behind by parents who seek out work in faraway cities. The “media forest,” an indoor installation with nearly 300 multimedia screens, will offer a glimpse into those feelings of alienation and loneliness. Each screen will play an 8 – 10 minute short film that follows the lives of ordinary Chinese people across the country and will explore the theme “Building Community Through Food.”
Inspired by the shape of an auspicious rock in Chinese landscape painting, the fluid and twisting shape of the pavilion will be covered with red scale-like tiles. An external staircase wraps around the structure and leads to a rooftop terrace that doubles as a dining space. According to the Vanke president, the shitang pavilion will aim to capture the big picture of city living in China and will serve as a reminder of the importance of human connection, not material goods. The pavilion marks Vanke’s second involvement in the World Expo; their first pavilion was a low-emission wheat straw board structure built for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.