UK Pavilion, World Expo 2010, Shanghai

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Posted by APM on 25th Mar 2011

On the 15th March, 2011, Annie Chan, Project Manager for Mace China Ltd. delivered a talk on UK Pavilion, World Expo 2010, Shanghai or How Mace transformed an initial sketch into an international award winning project at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club. She shared the experience and challenges faced during the project cycle from the UK nationwide design competition to demolition. The event was attended byover 50 members and guests.

Annie has gained experience in programme management, project management, cost management and design management. She has worked in the construction industry for ten years, playing consultant and developer roles for both private and public sectors in UK, Hong Kong and China.

The UK pavilion has been developed by Thomas Heatherwick, one of the UKs leading creative talents. His design team won the Foreign and Commonwealth Office commission to create the Pavilion following a competition that attracted a shortlist of six architectural proposals. The creation of the Pavilion was achieved through collaboration between construction managers Mace, lead engineers Adams Kara Tayor, services engineers Atelier Ten and highly skilled Chinese engineers and contractors.

Heatherwick Studios design engages with Shanghai Expos theme Better City, Better Life. Themed Building the Past, Shaping the Future, the 6,000-square-meter UK Pavilion is a six-storey high (20 meters in height) object, formed from 60,000-plus transparent acrylic spikes at 7.5 meters long, 20mm square in section. Each spike encases one or more seeds at its tip. During the daytime, the spikes draw on daylight to illuminate the interior; and at night, light sources embedded therein allow the structure to glow. The Pavilion is also known as the Seed Cathedral, which is made from a steel and timber composite structure supported by eight invisible structural columns on a raft foundation. The Pavilion sits like a wrapping paper on landscape as a city park, interpreting the extraordinary charm and innovation.

The challenges facing the construction of the Pavilion, according to Annie, are the level of risks that the UK and Chinese Governments can take as well as the management of programme and workforce. There must be realistic thinking to downside risks of the use of materials for the spikes. They are always subject to structural analysis and tests. It is found that the biggest challenges, however, are not technical issues, but the integrated collaboration and management of various stakeholders in UK and China. Annie stressed that most of the materials of the Pavilion would be reused or recycled at the end of the Expo, like the concept of sustainability demonstrated by the seeds. At the end of the day, the acrylic spikes were pulled down, sold with proceeds donated to the charitable organizations. In addition, concrete and timber were recycled.
Finally, Annie remarked that she had learned the design elements and creativity from this innovative project. It was her considered views that client management and risk management were the success factors of this difficult project.

Posted in Hong Kong
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