2010 Expo: He Jingtang and the China Pavilion
    2010-01-21 09:38:42     CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Liu Donghui

He Jingtang and the China Pavilion [File Photo: 163.com]

Related: Shanghai in Final Sprint for World Expo

Architect He Jingtang's latest design - the China Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo - is attracting great attention from all over the world and will stand as a red oriental crown towering over the other structures at the event.

The 63-meter-high China Pavilion known as "the Crown of the East" stands in the central location of the World Expo site in Shanghai. It is at least three times as tall as any other pavilion and is attracting a great deal of attention from all over the world.

He Jintang was born in 1938 in South China's Guangdong Province. He received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in architecture at the South China University of Technology in the 1960s. Since then, he has been working as an architect, as well as a teacher.

Now at the age of 72, He has not settled into retirement as many others have done. He has completed his most famous projects over the past few years, including the design of the wrestling and badminton venues for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The China Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai Expo is He Jingtang's latest design. He says the red oriental crown marks a new chapter in his career.

"We mean to show the spirit and face of the Chinese people against the background of a rising nation. We hope visitors will feel the changes of the country, and the glory and confidence of the Chinese people."

He and his team in the South China University of Technology in Guangdong had a long and arduous brainstorming session through which cultural symbols were incorporated into the design of the pavilion.

They found inspiration from "dougong," or corbel bracket, a type of crossbeam popularly used in traditional Chinese buildings.

Massive bars are used to support the sloping brackets. The entire pavilion is painted bright red to resemble a "ding," a type of ancient bronze cauldron.

Red is a lucky color in China, and it is intended to add to the festive atmosphere of the Shanghai Expo. He and his team worked hard to find the right types of red.

"It is the first time that I dared to use red on such a large-scale building. We collected every kind of red color that we needed and tried to find the right Chinese red from these colors, such as the red of Tiananmen, the Forbidden City and the Chinese national flag. We even invited experts from the color research institute at the China Academy of Art for help."

After many experiments and discussions, they finally chose three red colors for the interior and four for the exterior of the China Pavilion. The darkest red appears on the top of the building, and the color gradually becomes lighter towards the bottom.

As soon as a drawing of the building was published, the structure roused discussion among the public.

He Jintang says he has enjoyed the debate over the pavilion and attributes it to the flexibility of his design.

"Some say it looks like an old Chinese official's cap. Some say it's a kind of ancient Chinese cooking vessel. Some even say it's a grain barn. No matter what they think the image is, they all think it is very Chinese. That's what I wanted. "

Seen from above, the roof of the China Pavilion features a "sudoku" grid, or nine-square grid layout, which was a traditional urban planning feature in ancient Chinese cities. When the sun shines into the pavilion, there will be a smaller "sudoku" shadow in the semi-open square on the ground floor of the structure.

He is also incorporating a special kind of "zhuan," a seal style used in Chinese calligraphy, on the outside wall of the pavilion. The dramatic strokes of this kind of calligraphy will be "folded" into horizontal or vertical lines to produce a window-like appearance and are actually blowholes.

He Jintang believes that, the Shanghai Expo's China Pavilion will strike visitors even at first glance. The very Chinese structure will definitely make a deep impression on those who see it.

by Lu Yuan



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