Theme: Building on the Past, Shaping Our Future
Highlights: Seed Cathedral, Wrapping Paper National
Pavilion Day: September 8
Location: Within Zone C of the Expo Site
The first World Expo came about in the United Kingdom and was then known as the Great Exhibition, held in the Crystal Palace at Hyde Park. This majestic metal-and-glass edifice was not only home to the extravaganza display of products from all over the world, but was also the iconic symbol of the world fair, being considered one of the most beautiful structures in the world until a fire destroyed it half a century ago. Now, the United Kingdom has brought to Expo visitors a new version of the Crystal Palace – a dazzling cube formed by more than 60,000 slim and transparent acrylic rods containing seeds of different plants that were collected in a bio-diversity project.
Themed "Building on the Past, Shaping our future", the 6000-square-meter UK pavilion is also known as the "Seed Cathedral" and the area around it is designed like a wrapping paper, making it seem as if the wrappers have fallen open to reveal a sparkling jewel of life. Visitors can relax around the open space or enter the "Seed Cathedral" to admire the seeds in the spines, marveling how such tiny seeds can produce wonders of nature and life. The UK pavilion hopes to raise awareness for the Millennium Seed Bank Project, an international conservation project launched by the Royal Botanic Gardens in 2000.
Highlight 1: Green Cities
Visitors will travel through four UK's capital cities from west to east - Belfast, Cardiff, London and Edinburgh. Large "green maps" of the cities are on display. The best way to show how green British cities really are is to "erase" all the buildings and streets, leaving only the green spaces.
Highlight 2: Seed Cathedral
Visitors will be invited to watch, touch and recognize seeds of different plants as the core exhibition of the UK Pavilion. The seeds demonstrate the concept of sustainability, the diversity of nature and the potential of life. During the daytime, each of these 7.5-meter-long rods will act like fibre optic filaments, drawing on daylight to illuminate the interior. At night, light sources embedded in each rod will allow the whole structure to glow.
Highlight 3: Living City
In the "Living City," visitors will find a showcase for a rich variety of plants, a mix of living plants and imaginary future plants. They are encouraged to look closely to see which are real and which are modeled. These specific stories allow them to appreciate how science has used nature in areas as diverse as medicine and construction, and how plants of the future could offer solutions to climate change and other global concerns.
Highlight 4: Olympic Corner
UK Pavilion offers a preview of the 2012 London Olympics by incorporating an "Olympic Corner" in its display. The area features a large "green map" of the 2.5-square-kilometer Olympic Park in Stratford in East London, which will be turned into the largest city park in Britain.
Highlight 5: City Park
The "paper" area is as large as a standard football pitch and will be a public area for performances and for children to play football, just like a city park. The square will have performances every day including ballet, drama, orchestra and dance. Some UK football stars may be on hand to teach soccer skills to children.