HAPPY 12/12/12 !!!
The name of this recently opened park now eludes me (and my googling has turned up nothing)… either way, it is located on the Puxi side of the Huangpu River, opposite the old World Expo site.
This was my first trip back to the World Expo site after its closure back in October 2010. For quite some time I had been meaning to go check it out at night, and also properly see the Shanghai Arena up close for the very first time. Of course I waited until the thick of winter to venture out to Pudong and take a look.
That evening hovered around 1°C, so I packed on a couple jackets, a hat, gloves, and thick scarf… setting up shop in Yaohua Line 8 metro station before venturing out into the cold for 2½ hours.
I did my best to capture these impressive structures, but did feel something was lacking in the lighting department… especially when you consider how other things are lit in Shanghai. Or even when you look across Shang Nan Road (map) where both the China Pavilion and Shanghai Arena (aka Mercedes Benz Arena) are located, to see how impressively the Expo Axis is lit. However, all three of these structures are immense and still very much breathtaking.
EXPOdition Pt. II
August 8, 2010 – 390,700 visitors
Thanks to the Israeli Pavilion, we got VIP tickets to the pavilions of Israel, Japan, France, and Spain. I also dropped by Finland and Belgium, and take it from me, you can skip the French one, unless you really need to see more pictures of Paris and have never seen a Citroën. Japan was interesting, you certainly don’t see a robot playing a violin every day. The Spain pavilion is a definite success, the wicker building, great cave-like entrance and then the infamous gigantic moving baby, something I will not forget any time soon.
Also pictured are the pavilions of Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, and of course China. In my Danish Pavilion image, if you squint, you can see the Little Mermaid statue which was taken outside of Denmark for the very first time (unless you count all the times it has been stolen and vandalized; of which including 4 decapitations, an amputated arm, numerous paintings, and the addition of a dildo).
Those final images are from inside the Smurftastic Belgium Pavilion, another one worth visiting (without my bias). The Expo Axis (the massive tent construction in the images before the Smurf invasion) is the largest membrane construction in the world, whatever that means.
You will also notice all the water being sprayed in the air… temperatures hit 40C that day.
So I finally got my first taste of the Shanghai 2010 World Expo, which opened back on May 1, and runs until the end of October. Took a weekday night ticket, in the rain, and there were still massive crowds (June 24th: 447,100 visitors)… I can only imagine what it’s like on a sunny weekend.
“Better City, Better Life” is the motto, and the site itself is MASSIVE (interactive map). This first trip was only through [part of] Zone C which houses most of the European Pavilions as well as Canada, US, and Africa. And to say the Expo has transformed Shanghai city life is quite the understatement:
- 41 billion US dollars were spent on preparations (more than the 2008 Beijing Olympics);
- 18,000 families & 270 factories were relocated;
- 190+ nations and 50+ world organizations taking part (largest ever);
- Expo site covers 5.28 km², also the largest in Expo history (which equals about 987 football fields including endzones);
- 10,000+ new Shanghai taxis;
- 6 new metro lines;
- 1.7 million volunteers were trained specifically for Expo help;
- 70-100 million visitors are expected to pass through the gates;
- metal detectors (nuisance!) in every subway station throughout Shanghai;
The image above (UK Pavilion) is just a taste of the CRAZYNESS that is to come, I took 397 images and am still working through them, so check back soon as I will be updating them below!
Last Sunday [while it was snowing!] I went with my girl to hit up the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center (Official site / Frommer’s site), which is home to the largest to-scale city model in the world: Shanghai 2020!
I have always been a architecture fiend, and this was a hidden delight. Well, maybe not so hidden, as the Exhibition Center is located inside a massive modern building in the middle of People’s Square. 5 floors of exhibits chronicle the history and modernization of Shanghai, from the feudal dynasties (SH was a fishing village), to when the first Europeans arrived to trade (SH was a fishing village), through to today (when SH was a massive city), and on into the future (when SH turns into the worlds’ economic metropolis of the world (you heard it hear first!)).
Old photographs were what I found the most interesting, as the trasformation of this city is truly beyond words. Just look at the image of the Pudong skyline in my last post, when I was in Shanghai for the first time some 10 years ago, only 3-4 buildings were built (including the Pearl Tower), so I can only imagine what Shanghai will look like in another decade in 2020… oh wait nevermind, on the 5th floor they have the worlds largest to-scale city-model in the world: Shanghai 2020!
The center obviously showcases much about the upcoming Shanghai Expo, and I can’t wait to see some of the structures they are planning to build, truly remarkable stuff. Still can’t decide which one I will like more… Thomas Heatherwick’s UK Pavilion (consisting of 60,000 transparent rods) or the Switzerland Pavilion by Buchner Bründler Architects (which has a ski lift through, over, and around it -no I am not joking).