Architecture Without Architects: Critic Blasts the Canadian Pavilion at Shanghai 2010


Notwithstanding its green wall and rainwater harvesting, I was not impressed by the fact that Canada's Pavilion for shanghai was being designed by acrobats and jugglers instead of architects. But Globe and Mail Architectural critic Lisa Rochon is absolutely and wonderfully vicious about it.

"Other nations launch architecture competitions and unveil their designs with much fanfare in what has become a kind of Olympics of architecture and art. Not you, Mr. Canada. You farm out the commission for the Canadian Pavilion at World Expo 2010 in Shanghai to a circus corporation. Oh, Canada. Hewer of wood and drawer of water. You dumb cluck. You allow a monumental nation-branding building to be conceived without an architect."She also derides it as greenwash:

There's the predictable quotient of greenwashing in the pavilion. The interior features a living green wall, actually a map of Shanghai - constructed of local Chinese plants. The interior cladding of stainless steel and the red cedar is to be recycled once the temporary pavilion comes down, promises Charles Chebl, director of the project for the pavilion builder, the Montreal-based engineering and construction firm SNC-Lavalin.


Lisa also notes that others, like the Danes, are hiring real architects, like BIG, to do buildings with a real environmental theme. The Danish pavilion is a giant velodrome with 1500 bikes, designed to promote bikes as a symbol of a modern, sustainable lifestyle.

Her final verdict on the Canadian Pavilion: "What a juggling act. What a laugh."

Read it all in the Globe and Mail

More on Shanghai 2010:
Acrobats Design Canada Pavilion with Rainwater Harvesting, Green Walls
Shanghai Pavilion is Built From Recycled CD Cases
Floating City Proposed For Shanghai World Expo
Swiss Pavilion at Shanghai has Green Roof, Soybean Walls

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