The organisers of a design competition for the UK pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo 2010 are hoping to drum up a ‘tremendous response’ from the industry, but say initial expressions of interest have been lacklustre.
Overseen by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the competition has been launched to identify a combined team of architects, designers and curators to design the £10m-£12m UK pavilion at the Expo, as well as the official UK website.
Designers will be tasked with producing something ‘high impact, startling, modern and innovative’ under the central theme ‘Better City, Better Life’. It will be showcased at the six-month event, where visitors to the British pavilion are expected to average 50 000 each day.
The UK will be developing its core messages around themes such as sustainable development, urban regeneration and climate security.
At a briefing at the FCO last week, the senior officer responsible for the Expo John Dennis said, ‘This is an historical opportunity to showcase in China, in a venue where the eyes of the world will be on the exhibition. It was decided last August that the UK would be represented powerfully. We are hoping for a tremendous response.’
‘We want to try to flush out practices that have the ability to deal with this challenge,’ adds Malcolm Reading of project management company Malcolm Reading Associates, which is managing the appointment of designers.
‘We want something bold and original that can be displayed in the building. We are hoping for more interest from the design industry – at present we have only had a lot of response from engineers.’
At the end of March, after expressions of interest have been received, a brief will be issued and a shortlist of six teams will be invited to respond and take part in the competition.
The teams will then showcase conceptual work in July at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Each group will receive an honorarium payment for its work.
A jury will decide on the final team to represent the UK, and the FCO will ask the Design Council, one of its stakeholders, to recommend an industry figure for the deciding board.
The final designs for the pavilion will be selected in September.
• Expo 2010 is a first for China and will take place over 5.7km2 of newly refurbished land along the Huangpu river
• The Foreign & Commonwealth Office is assembling a wide group of stakeholders with interests in China to join the UK cohort at the Expo
• The initial design concept for the UK project envisages permanent and temporary displays across a 6000m2site
• Construction will begin in 2008 and full details of the design competition will be published on the UK project website www.ukshanghaiexpo.com