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British Pavilion, Shanghai World Expo, China

Issue 56 August / September 2010 : Architecture : Pavilion

ARCHITECT: Heatherwick Studio LIGHTING DESIGN: Atelier Ten PICS: Iwan Baan

The ‘Seed Cathedral’, Britain’s presence at the World Expo. The pavilion, which won architects Heatherwick Studio this year’s RIBA Lubetkin Prize for the ‘Most outstanding work of international architecture by a RIBA member’, demonstrates the work of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew and their Millennium Seedbank.

The Seed Cathedral is a 20-metre high building, constructed from 60,000 transparent 7.5-metre optical strands, each of which has a seed embedded within its tip. The interior is silent and illuminated during the day by natural light, filtered through each rod.
As darkness falls, 70,000 1W LEDs set into the acrylic rods one metre from the internal tip provide enough light to illuminate the seed collection and create a peaceful glow. Credit for this lighting designed goes to London-based Atelier Ten.

The UK Pavilion from Shanghai Expo Timelapse Machine on Vimeo.


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