SHANGHAI: Construction was completed Monday on the China Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, with fireworks, floating balloons, red lanterns and ribbons, and deafening gongs and drums to celebrate the occasion.
A completion ceremony is held outside the China Pavilion, Shanghai, February 8, 2010. [expo.2010.cn]
Almost 1,000 spectators, including pavilion designers, construction workers and government officials, attended a completion ceremony outside the iconic structure, dubbed the "Oriental Crown," in the Pudong New District of Shanghai on the eastern bank of the Huangpu River.
"The project allows visitors to experience China's splendid civilization and brilliant modern achievements. It is a key platform for cross-cultural exchanges," said Yu Zhengsheng, secretary of the Shanghai Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China.
"Completion of the construction of the China Pavilion is a significant step and it paves way for further exhibition layout," said Han Zheng, mayor of Shanghai.
"It is a satisfying day," said 34-year-old Chen Bifeng, a worker from neighboring Zhejiang Province.
"The China Pavilion has attracted the attention of the whole nation's 1.3 billion people, and I think my labor and sweat of the past year were worth it," he said.
Standing 63 meters tall and red in appearance, the China Pavilion takes the shape of an emperor's crown, with the upper layers larger than the lower ones.
Covering 160,000 square meters in floor space, the pavilion is composed of a national hall and a regional hall.
Construction on the China Pavilion began on Dec 18, 2007.
The design of the China Pavilion was picked from a total of 344 designs put forward by Chinese from around the world.
"The pavilion possesses both traditional and modern features," said 72-year-old He Jingtang, chief designer of the China Pavilion from the Architecture Design Institute under the South China University of Technology.
"For example, it is red in appearance, which bears the elements of traditional Chinese culture, and it is green indoors, with the use of energy-saving and environment-friendly techniques," said He, also an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
The Shanghai World Expo will run from May 1 to Oct 31 this year, and is expected to attract 70 million visitors from across the globe.
It is estimated that 400,000 people will visit the Expo and its 140 pavilions every day during the period, but the China Pavilion is only able to receive about one tenth of the total, organizers have said.
How to accommodate so many people in the pavilion remains a tough task for operators of the project.
"Luckily, the China Pavilion is built as a permanent structure. After the Expo is over, the China Pavilion will continue to be open to visitors," said Zhong Yanqun, deputy head of the executive committee of the Shanghai World Expo.