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Pavilions show design creativity

By Shi Yingying (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-11-01 08:08
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Pavilions show design creativity
Representatives from pavilions, which are given different awards by the International Exhibitions Bureau, uphold the prize cups at the awarding ceremony in Shanghai on Saturday. [Photo/China News Agency]

SHANGHAI - Thirty-four out of a total of 83 standalone pavilions and 11 joint pavilions were given an International Exhibitions Bureau (BIE) award for their theme development, creative display and pavilion design, on Saturday.

They competed for gold, silver and bronze awards in these three areas.

The 11 gold award winners were the pavilions of Germany, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Chile, Sweden, Finland, Algeria, Slovenia, Portugal, Mauritania and the Pacific.

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There were also A, B, C and D categories according to size: A being above 4,000 square meters; B, from 2,000 to 4,000 sq m; C, less than 2,000 sq m; and D, the 11 joint pavilions.

D-category pavilions were entitled to compete for the prizes for theme development and creative display since only self-built pavilions qualified for the pavilion design competition.

Some of these were both the most innovative and easy to understand.

Germany's pavilion, for example, which was visited by more than 4 million people over the six-month period, was given the gold award for theme development, or, the best development of the Expo 2010 theme "Better City, Better Life".

The commissioner general of the Germany Pavilion, Dietmar Schmitz, had this to say: "I have been asked several times in Germany how we managed to be one of the most popular pavilions at the Expo 2010. The enthusiasm people have displayed shows us that our philosophy of presenting complex issues in simple terms has a real appeal for the audience here."

The Saudi Arabia Pavilion, another popular one, as was indicated by the longest wait time needed to get inside, was given the gold award for creative display.

Yang Hong, a 50-year-old housewife who spent a phenomenal six-hour queuing just to get inside, said it was worth the wait and that it was by far her favorite pavilion in her (also phenomenal) 11-day expo experience.

"I was presented with an incredible spectacle. When I was on its 'Silk Road Treasure Ship', the desert showed me where the earth touches the sky," she said. "I also came to see that Saudi Arabia doesn't only have a desert, but also a modern side to it."

Abdulrahman Al-Shaikh, commissioner general of the Saudi Arabia Pavilion, said that was what they wanted to show: "In the eyes of most Chinese, Saudi Arabia is a country with large oil reserves and a large desert. By presenting ourselves at the Expo, we have shown that our country is a state with a great heritage and history.

"We've also shown that we are a modern country befitting a modern age. At the beginning, I knew it would be a success, but I did not expect it to be that popular."

The UK Pavilion, a member of the A-category, took the gold for pavilion design award.

The BIE-COSMOS Prize was given to the Chain Reaction, a Chinese private non-profit organization that works on protecting and promoting the indigenous culture in Guizhou province. Its winning project, "For Our Daughters", guided by Zhang Xiaosong, a professor, is intended to support independent, sustainable development in ethnic communities.

The Expo jury special award went to the MeteoWorld Pavilion.

Awards have been a tradition at World Expos since the first one, held in London in 1851. The competition was suspended after the World Expo Brussels in Belgium, in 1958, but resumed in 2005 at World Expo Aichi in Japan.

The selection committee consists of nine members, including three BIE officials along with architects and urban planning specialists.

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