On Friday, the Shanghai World Expo 2010 opening as "a grand gathering of the world cultures," a kind of international "We are the world" singalong. As many as 100 million visitors are expected, and they'll descend on on 189 pavilions, created by all but seven of the countries in the entire world. In the design of each, there's not supposed to be any politics. No international posturing. But really? Why did North Korea put clouds on its building? And what is America's just dying to tell China?Here, we've drawn up a handy guide to pavilion architecture, a secret decoder ring, of sorts, to the World Expo. What are these buildings really saying?
With its slender acrylic rods jutting out every which way like a porcupine, the UK Pavilion, by Thomas Heatherwick, is in turns gorgeous and frightening. Message to China: We could take back Hong Kong, if we felt like it. Just sayin'.