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Saw China and Saudi my 2nd Day, Fri.Late August

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Re: August 2010 Architectural Record, & Expo 2010 Review

August 8, 2010

Your August issue will be remembered just like the structures and events covered. Some of the most extravagant projects of the decade placed all in one issue.

I just returned from Expo 2010 and would like to add detail for your readers. Some of the Corporate Exhibits on the Puxi side of the river are better than the National Exhibits that are drawing large lines. These Corporate Exhibits are gathering good lines, but mostly in the morning. In the afternoon or evening, you can get in most of the Corporate Exhibits with a half hour or less wait except for Coca Cola.

Coke has a new product which forms ice in the container when turned upside down before you open. Coke is one of the few places except for restaurants that you can actually get a cold drink. Due to the heat and attendance, drinks are consumed before they can even be chilled.

Most pavilion exhibits have ignored the prime rule of exhibit design – entertain or educate while they wait with the pre-show. This may be why the Coca Cola exhibit is popular as they have a very entertaining and musical pre-show while you wait, even if it is only music and lights.

The Corporate exhibits have that little extra that sets them apart from National exhibits. Oil has the best 4-D movie with all the spray, gusts of air, and movement in your seat to excite any experienced individual. It was fun to see the reactions of people who never experienced a show like this before. Aviation has 3-D ride which twists and turns and probably has not been experienced since New York 1964. SAIG-GM has a movie automated traffic where the screen withdraws to reveal a full surround audience with future Vehicles and a dance show. Private Industries has a really entertaining show of film, moving balls, and ballerina.

While the photos for your article are excellent, the views can not be duplicated now that the Expo is open and all of the shade devices and queue lines have been installed. Most exhibit designs never take into account the need to shelter and make order for those waiting in line. Korea, Shanghai Corporate, Singapore, and China have entertainment while you wait in a courtyard under the building. The China Provincial and Theme Pavilion both have queuing lines on the shaded side of the building.

Due to the anticipated attendance, most of the pavilions are large hallways of movies or exhibits thru which the visitor passes. This has worked well to keep visitors and lines moving.

The long line at Italy was supposed to take 2 hours, but the line kept moving and only took ½ hour. The Italian exhibit was full of delightful exhibits of art and crafts, from large architectural models to a Porsche and more everyday items. You actually passed thru a large scale structural model of the Florence Cathedral Dome, riding an escalator to the second floor.

The German Pavilion is an enclosed walkway of exhibits which lead up to the main show, a circular area of several levels with an illuminated moving pendulum. This building is sheathed in a transparent mesh to create a unique form.

The Netherlands took this exhibit hallway form and made it an open street in the air with exhibit structures modeled after famous Dutch buildings. This pavilion draws from the success of their Expo 2000 open air pavilion.

The United Arab Emigrates modern pavilion with a metal roof in the shape of sand dunes is one of the better national movies and exhibits.

USA has a pre-show exhibit and short movies, which kept the wait line moving.

Some exhibits were roofed open air pavilions such as Indonesia.

Some exhibits such as New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore included open air roof gardens relating to the Expo Better Cities Theme.

Nepal, Pakistan, Malaysia, Morocco, India, and Thailand had traditional structures mixed with modern exhibits.

Other smaller exhibits are large open areas with a movie, sitting area, and exhibits around the sides.

Smaller or poorer countries have exhibits in one large building such as Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Pacific, Europe, and Chinese Provinces. Africa is known as the largest shopping mall in Shanghai. The Chinese Provinces are very good and some out shine other foreign exhibits.

Saudi Arabia spent more money than any other country and has the most unique popular exhibit with a full surround movie thru which you pass on a moving sidewalk in a saucer shaped modern pavilion. This exhibit made very little use of internal queue line for entertainment or education. I expect that a lot of the live entertainment for many pavilions was limited due to the extreme heat or the need to not draw anymore crowds than were already present.

The large impersonal Theme Exhibits were well done, but could not compete with visits to foreign countries, each with their own individual personality.

The Expo Authorities, Chinese Military, and Police have done an excellent job adjusting to the crowds and organizing queuing areas for the pavilions with shade and water spray. They have added air cooling units and blocks of ice to assist with evaporative cooling. The Saudi line is positioned under the elevated Pedestrian Walk for shade. This line actually starts near the China pavilion with gaps to allow people to cross thru the line. A soldier stands in front of each line and when it is time to move the line up, the soldiers march slowly, allowing the waiting people to slowly move up behind them.

The urban design of the Expo was planned with the pavilions spread far apart to help disperse up to 500,000 visitors per day. The site is split by the Expo Axis, a large three story shaded circulation space with restaurants and shops. This Axis stretches from the main entrance gate to the river fountain area. The major pavilions China, Theme, and Expo Culture are adjacent to this axis. An elevated walk with a tour bus route extends from this Axis to both ends of the site. Major pavilions and entrance gates are placed at each end of the Elevated Walk. The underside of the Elevated Walk serves as a major shade area for lines and seating.

Pavilions are positioned in blocks separated by major circulation roads with the interior of the blocks serving as a plaza with pavilion entrances.

The other side of the river has a similar urban design with a main entrance and elevated walk that branches out towards each end of the site and further entrance gates.

There is a new subway line that serves only the Expo site and a remote entrance gate. Both sides of the river can be accessed by subway, boat, and bus. There are also several remote gates serviced by river ferry. The major site transportation is by bus. There is also a small electric open air vehicle that transports people for a fee.

Major parks are aligned along both sides of the river.

China with five times the population of the United States stands to break most records for World’s Fairs and Expositions in terms of land mass, attendance, number of countries, number of 3D movies, you name it. For further info you can refer to: www.expo.cn and www.expomuseum.com.

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Okay, so how did a Porsche end up in the Italy Pavilion instead of the German Pavilion? Must be a story there. I would have expected to see a Ferrari or Lamborghini.

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