Theme Pavilion, Qinddao

The World Horticultural Expo that took place the Chinese city of Qingdao and is expected to attract 15 million international visitors. The main theme of the expo was ‘From the Earth, For the Earth’ and aims to encourage the exchange of culture, technology and horticultural knowledge. In its design for the Theme Pavilion UNStudio combines expert knowledge of logistics, spatial organization, specialized typology, future flexible usability, function programming, façade intelligence, user comfort and sustainability.

Ben van Berkel: The architecture for the Theme Pavilion overflows and interacts with the surrounding landscape. The forms of the pavilion buildings respond to the nearby mountains, with their carefully composed rooftops acting as plateaus, each addressing a different portion of the master plan by different inclination and terracing and providing panoramic views which extend far into the surrounding landscape. The 28,000-square meter Theme Pavilion comprises the main Expo hall, a grand performance hall, a conference centre and a media centre.

The architectural design gesture for the pavilion is borrowed from the shape of the Chinese rose the city flower of Qingdao and converted into the floor plan layout of the design. The four pavilion volumes or ‘petals’ are connected by internal and external walkways and frame a central square which becomes a ‘stage’ for the visitors: a dynamic focal point surrounded by viewpoints on varying levels.

Ben van Berkel: The flowering out concept is integrated into the design of the Theme Pavilion as gesture of communication. Similarly, to how it occurs in nature, the action of flowering out in architecture attracts and invites through the senses. It alludes to the notion that a building can open itself up and encourage public interaction. The Theme Pavilion operates as the platform for monthly programmed and seasonally themed activities, featuring flowers in spring, shading in summer, fruits in autumn and greens in winter.