Expo (short for ‘exposition’)

exposition in shanghai

Expo (short for ‘exposition’) is the largest international commerce and cultural event in the world. The first Expo at the Crystal Palace in London 1851 emphasized the significance of architecture as a symbolic factor representing the participants in general, and the nations of the world in particular. Since then, the pavilions have served to examine the state of architecture and progressive technologies, making use of surprises and originality.

As such, the structure of the pavilions at Expo is the most significant attraction, especially the national ones, each built with an average cost of 50 million dollars, with an indirect benefit tenfold.

As the preparations involve heavy logistics, Expo takes place every five years, every time in a different country, as opposed to the Venice Biennale which makes use of permanent structures.

The most significant Israeli aspect of Expo to date is the Habitat project, built in the 1967 Montreal Expo and ever since appearing in any account of modern architecture. Its planner Moshe Safdie - then a 25 year old student - is now considered one of the world’s leading architects.

This year’s Israel pavilion was planned by architect Haim Dotan, who had won the Foreign Office tender two years ago for the planning and building of it.

The theme “Better City, Better Life” gave many of the architects the chance of expressing their attitude toward the green trend, particularly through the overly used tricks of recycling and energy saving. However, planning the pavilions, building them and establishing the exhibits within has mainly exposed the problems of digital architecture, when the fantasy screen products have to be realized on site.

Many of the pavilions have taken a different form than that celebrated on the computer screen, while being built by hard-working Chinese laborers who sweated over actualizing the extremely complicated shapes.

In this context, the following presentation of some of the most interesting pavilions focuses on the relations between the architectural proposal and the actual realization, conducted under a severe and exhausting Chinese inspection.

The exhibition will close in October.

Ami Ran

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