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Sustainable Fun at the Danish World Expo 2010 Pavilion

  • The idea of air-lifting Denmark's most iconic symbol to Shanghai for several months -- particularly during the all-important summer tourist season -- earned Bjarke Ingels, of BIG, the architect behind the country's World Expo Pavilion, threats from right wing politicians. But Ingels prevailed,  and made the bronze statue of Hans Christian Andersen's "Little Mermaid" the centerpiece of his elliptical structure.
  • The Pavilion is designed to showcase Denmark's advanced environmental technology, and to highlight the country's eco-friendly lifestyle. The exterior is made of perforated white painted steel, whose heat-reflecting characteristics will keep it cool during the Shanghai summer sun. In the evening, the facade becomes part of an interactive light display, illuminating passersby.
  • The roof of the building and the floor are covered with a light blue surfacing texture known from Danish cycle paths, and the pavilion is organized around a loop of biking and walking paths.
  • To allow visitors to experience the joys of Danish biking, organizers have stationed 300 bicycles near the entrance. Bike riders can hop aboard and zoom up the ramps.
  • The bike path runs through the interior and exterior of the pavilion, allowing visitors to see the entire exhibit on wheels.
  • At the center of the pavilion is the Little Mermaid, seated at the edge of a pond of salt water direct from Copenhagen's harbor. The Hans Christian Andersen story of "The Little Mermaid," is a favorite in China, where she's known as An Tung Shung. While the mermaid is in Shanghai, her place by the Copenhagen harbor will be filled by multimedia artwork by Ai Wei Wei, a Beijing artist and political activist.  His videos will broadcast scenes from the pavilion.
  • This is a sketch of BIG's original idea for the pavilion, which was a traffic loop created by the motion of city bikes and pedestrians, tied in a knot.
  • The loops are connected in two places. The paths' widths vary, depending on the requirements of the interior space.
  • "If sustainable designs are to become competitive," says Ingels, "it can not be for purely moral or political reasons. They have to be more attractive and desirable than the non-sustainable alternative. In the Danish Pavilion, we show ...how a sustainable city, such as Copenhagen can, in fact, increase the quality of life."
  • 01 /09
    | Pavilion Architect Bjarke Ingels Meets the Press The idea of air-lifting Denmark's most iconic symbol to Shanghai for several months -- particularly during the all-important summer tourist season -- earned Bjarke Ingels, of BIG, the architect behind the country's World Expo Pavilion, threats from right wing politicians. But Ingels prevailed, and made the bronze statue of Hans Christian Andersen's "Little Mermaid" the centerpiece of his elliptical structure.
  • 02 /09
    | Exterior of Danish Pavilion The Pavilion is designed to showcase Denmark's advanced environmental technology, and to highlight the country's eco-friendly lifestyle. The exterior is made of perforated white painted steel, whose heat-reflecting characteristics will keep it cool during the Shanghai summer sun. In the evening, the facade becomes part of an interactive light display, illuminating passersby.
  • 03 /09
    | Visitors can experience the pavilion on foot, or on wheels The roof of the building and the floor are covered with a light blue surfacing texture known from Danish cycle paths, and the pavilion is organized around a loop of biking and walking paths.
  • 04 /09
    To allow visitors to experience the joys of Danish biking, organizers have stationed 300 bicycles near the entrance. Bike riders can hop aboard and zoom up the ramps.
  • 05 /09
    The bike path runs through the interior and exterior of the pavilion, allowing visitors to see the entire exhibit on wheels.
  • 06 /09
    At the center of the pavilion is the Little Mermaid, seated at the edge of a pond of salt water direct from Copenhagen's harbor. The Hans Christian Andersen story of "The Little Mermaid," is a favorite in China, where she's known as An Tung Shung. While the mermaid is in Shanghai, her place by the Copenhagen harbor will be filled by multimedia artwork by Ai Wei Wei, a Beijing artist and political activist. His videos will broadcast scenes from the pavilion.
  • 07 /09
    | An Idea is Born This is a sketch of BIG's original idea for the pavilion, which was a traffic loop created by the motion of city bikes and pedestrians, tied in a knot.
  • 08 /09
    The loops are connected in two places. The paths' widths vary, depending on the requirements of the interior space.
  • 09 /09
    "If sustainable designs are to become competitive," says Ingels, "it can not be for purely moral or political reasons. They have to be more attractive and desirable than the non-sustainable alternative. In the Danish Pavilion, we show ...how a sustainable city, such as Copenhagen can, in fact, increase the quality of life."

"Sustainability is often misunderstood as the neo-Protestant notion "that it has to hurt in order to be good," says Danish architect Bjarke Ingels. His goal in designing the Danish World Expo Pavilion: to show that a sustainable lifestyle can be fun.

Slideshow Credits: 02 / Iwan Baan; 04 / Iwan Baan;