BIG architects recently completed construction on the Danish Pavilion, a stunning beacon for sustainable transportation at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. Conceived as an elegantly sloping circular loop, the structure is topped with a rooftop garden that holds 300 bicycles that give visitors a chance to experience Denmark’s favorite mode of transportation. The pavilion is wrapped with a punctured facade that allows daylight to filter in, and when the sun sets the exterior ignites with light as pedestrians and cyclists zip through the interior spaces.
BIG’s Danish Pavilion encourages the use of pedal power and walking as sustainable methods of transportation, giving visitors a chance to experience the best aspects of Danish city life. The building is constructed from white painted steel, which reflects head to keep the interior cool throughout Shanghai’s summer. Bike paths are paved throughout the structure using a light blue surfacing texture that is also featured on Danish cycle paths. After the 2010 Shanghai Expo has run its course the Danish Pavilion can be moved and relocated to act as a hub for Shanghai’s new fleet of city bikes.
At the base of the pavilion sits a pool of water, beside which basks Copenhagen’s famed statue of H.C Andersen’s Little Mermaid. The statue is a cultural treasure in Denmark, and its sojourn in Shanghai is a symbol of the nation’s open-mindedness and liberal stance towards the rest of the world. BIG founder Bjark Ingels also remarked: “Speaking of sustainability, it is considerably more resource efficient moving The Little Mermaid to China, than moving 1.3 billion Chinese to Copenhagen.“
Ingels goes on to describe the pavilion as “a piece of Copenhagen’s bicycle track, tied as a knot … city bikes located at the roof scape, offer our Chinese hosts a chance to experience the Danish urban way. Thus, when you arrive to Expo, you visit Denmark, get a bike and explore the rest of the world! When we visited the World Exhibition in Zaragossa, we were stunned by the artificial content. State propaganda in paper maché. The Danish Expo pavilion 2010 is the real deal, and not just endless talking. You can ride the city bike, take a swim in the harbor bath, and see the real Little Mermaid“.
Photos by Iwan Baan