Upcycling plastic bottles into t-shirts and billboards into backpacks is innovative, to be sure. But Shanghai's Corporate Pavilion takes the upcycling trend to extremes: The entire exterior of the 4,949 square meter structure is made out of polycarbonate tubes fashioned from used CD cases.
If and when the building is ever taken down, the tubes can be recycled into polycarbonate granules that in turn produce more polycarbonate plastic products. But the Pavilion, in construction for the Shanghai World Expo 2010, is sustainable for more reasons that just its CD case exterior.
The building also features a solar thermal energy system to provide energy. The massive solar heat-collecting tube produces hot water up to 203 °F that can be used to generate energy with what architecture firm Atelier Feichang Jianzhu calls "ultra-low temperature power generation technology."
Shanghai's newest pavilion will also store and filter rainwater to provide a mist that lowers the temperatures in the building. The mist may also be used to spray visitors upon entrance into the pavilion, Las Vegas-style.
Expect to see even more outrageous designs pop up in the coming weeks and months as multiple countries begin building their own pavilions for the World Expo. For a preview of pavilion designs, check out the Expo Web site.