2010 Shanghai Expo Showcases Urban Living

Expo 2010 Shanghai China, which has brought together participants from around the world, explores the role of cities and the boundaries of architecture.

May 18, 2010
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The Seed Cathedral is a 20-metre anemone-like structure that has 60,000 fibre-optic rods that extend outward and actually move in the breeze.
The Seed Cathedral is a 20-metre anemone-like structure that has 60,000 fibre-optic rods that extend outward and actually move in the breeze.
The main inverted pyramid-shaped China Pavilion building is red, which represents China’s cultural heritage.
The main inverted pyramid-shaped China Pavilion building is red, which represents China’s cultural heritage.
The United Arab Emirates Pavilion's roof looks like it has been shaped by the wind. It also shimmers and changes colours.
The United Arab Emirates Pavilion's roof looks like it has been shaped by the wind. It also shimmers and changes colours.
Earning top honours in the design category the Poland Pavilion looks like traditional Polish folk art created on a gigantic scale.
Earning top honours in the design category the Poland Pavilion looks like traditional Polish folk art created on a gigantic scale.
On top of the steel framework for the Spain Pavilion, you’ll find 8,000 wicker panels in brown, beige and black.
On top of the steel framework for the Spain Pavilion, you’ll find 8,000 wicker panels in brown, beige and black.

Wander among the pavilions of the Expo 2010 Shanghai China, and you’ll find it’s easy to be optimistic about the world’s future. The imaginative, bold and varied architecture of the buildings is a tribute to the human spirit.

The Expo, which runs through October 31 of this year, has the theme of “Better City, Better Life.” Eight years in the making, it will host some 70 million visitors and includes exhibitions from more than 200 participants, including both countries and corporations.

Architectural Marvels

Here are a few pavilions that you won’t want to miss:

China Pavilion
Known as “The Crown of the East,” the main building’s roof is made of dougong (interlocking wooden brackets), which is an important design element in traditional Chinese architecture. The main colour of the inverted pyramid-shaped structure is red, which represents China’s rich cultural heritage.

U.K. Pavilion
The Seed Cathedral, which is intended to raise awareness of the Millennium Seed Bank Project, is a 20-metre (66-foot) anemone-like structure that has 60,000 fibre-optic rods that extend outward and actually move in the breeze. If you get close enough, you’ll find seeds encased at the end of the poles.

Spain Pavilion
The inspiration for the Spain Pavilion is the humble basket. On top of a steel framework, you’ll find 8,000 wicker panels in brown, beige and black. On the inside, the weavings create a pleasing otherworldly light. Spain and China both have a tradition of weaving wicker, which gives this building special resonance for many Chinese visitors.

United Arab Emirates Pavilion
Inspired by the desert terrain of the United Arab Emirates, this pavilion resembles a sand dune. The building’s undulating roof gives the appearance of having been shaped by the wind, and the roof shimmers and changes colours. At the end of the Shanghai Expo, this building will be taken apart and rebuilt back in its home country.

Poland Pavilion
Earning top honours in the design category at the Shanghai Expo for its striking appearance, the Poland Pavilion looks like traditional Polish folk art created on a gigantic scale and is illuminated at night. The patterns on the outside of the building are in the style of paper cut-outs.

Exhibits and Events

Be sure to check out the five theme pavilions that look at the past, present and future of the city while at the Expo. The Urban Footprints pavilion examines the key role of cities in the development of civilisation, while the Urban Dreams pavilion imagines the urban metropolis of the future. In the Urban Beings pavilion, you can walk the “Circular Pipeline,” where you can see the underground infrastructure of the city that is usually out of sight.

With more than 900 parades planned during the course of the 184-day event, you won’t have to look far to find a celebration. Daily martial arts shows and a dazzling stage show taking Chinese tea as a theme are also part of the offerings.

Where to Stay, More to Do

Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai provides a quiet retreat after a busy, exciting day at the Expo. Visit Qin The Spa to unwind and refresh after a long day on your feet or dine at one of the Hotel’s restaurants, such as Si Ji Xuan or Café Studio, which offer a veritable tour of world cuisine. The Concierge can help you navigate the city and plan your days at the 2010 Expo to get the most out of your time there.

The Hotel can also arrange for you to explore the rest of the city on a Shanghai Heritage walking tour, where you will feel like a time traveller while visiting the maze of Old Town alleyways and Pudong’s futuristic skyscrapers. You can also ride Shanghai’s Maglev train, the fastest train in the world, reaching speeds of 431 kph (269 mph).

While visiting Shanghai, take advantage of Four Seasons Expo package, which includes a daily buffet breakfast and two single-day Expo admissions tickets per stay. The package also includes a traditional Chinese medicine soothing foot ritual for two at Qin The Spa (15 minutes; one experience for two per stay).


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