Dutch architecture firm UNStudio just completed the theme pavilion for the 2014 International Horticultural Expo currently being held in the Chinese province of Qingdao. The design, which was realized three years after its selection in a 2011 competition, merges science and nature to follow the expo theme "From the Earth, For the Earth." The pavilion buildings are arranged in the shape of a flower and mimic elevated landscaped plateaus to complement the surrounding mountainous landscape.
Although Qingdao is best known for its Tsingtao Beer, the coastal city hopes to use the expo to enhance its eco-friendly image and spur the development of other environmentally minded initiatives. UNStudio transformed the Expo area from a former degraded mining site into a 241-hectare complex that is expected to attract 15 million international visitors before it closes in October 2014.
The Theme Pavilion’s cluster of buildings is arranged in the shape of a Chinese rose and each building is likened to petals connected by internal and external walkways. “The flowering out concept is integrated into the design of the Theme Pavilion as a gesture of communication,” says Ben van Berkel, the principal architect at UNStudio. “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 public interaction.”
The Expo was also created with eco-friendly technologies, such as a low carbon climate control system, water recycling technologies, and waste-processing facilities. Following the end of the Expo, the landscape art themed expo park will be converted into a hub for eco-tourism. Each building was specially designed with future use in mind and will be turned into hotel, conference, or teaching facilities.
Images via UNStudio, © Edmon Leong