India Pavilion, Expo 2010 Shanghai China

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India Pavilion, Expo 2010 Shanghai China

The India Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo 2010 has its main exhibition space under the world’s largest Bamboo Dome. Duality is a metaphor for India and becomes the underlying pattern. This duality is reflected in the two spaces of the courtyard and the dome. They represent spaces that are open and covered, possible in tropical cities. They characterize the boundless and the bounded, informal and formal. The pavilion becomes a metaphor for the Bazaar and the Temple, Rural and Urban, the Past and the Future. The Theme Section expresses harmony through its large bamboo dome – a herb roofed, indoor space provided with low-level air-conditioning. Inspired by the Buddhist Stupa at Sanchi, it rejoices in a common cultural thread between the host nation, China, and the guest, India. The Tree of Life is echoed in the pattern of the herbs. The Dome: The dome is a Moso bamboo space grid with steel grouted joints finished with a woven bamboo mat acoustic ceiling. The ferrocement dome surface is created on site by hand. An innovative system of ropes and wires are the mounting grid for herb trays and solar cells, in a stunning composition with the Tree of Life in copper. The organic herbal, medicinal shrubs in the trays are a carbon sink and purify the air.Five floor stones inside the dome depict India’s natural wealth, masterfully tooled to also remind the world about her human resources. This near hemispherical dome has a diameter of 35 m, making it the World’s largest dome ever built using bamboo as the main structural material. The structure was made using 36 arched compound ribs, each of six interconnected bamboos, and eight bamboo horizontal rings, all made from Moso bamboo from Anji county, Zhejiang province in China. The joints are reinforced with steel bars and cement mortar grouts. The bamboo was treated using boric-borax and then pre-curved in a small factory in Anji. A large full-scale mock-up was made before the construction started, to train the Chinese workers as well as to pre-empt any construction problems. The bamboo structure is covered with a 50 mm thick micro-concrete shell and then planted with a herb and plant garden. The structure was designed for relevant forces and codes in India and China. Additional testing of this structure is planned at the end of Expo to enable a further development of the design codes for bamboo construction. The Court and the Bazaar: Past carved terracotta panels that tell the ancient Jataka stories about the interdependence of humans and nature, the visitors enters under a vaulted portal with the Tree of Life carving inspired by the stone carving from the Siddi Syed mosque at Ahmedabad. The entry plaza is a showcase of Indian artisans and handicraft, cultural shows, displays, shops, eateries, together showcasing the diversity of India and yet its unifying harmony. It is tree shaded, dynamic and changes over the day and with each season.The terracotta and stone floor is inspired from the palace at Rampur in Varanasi. It is cooled by embedded pipes, interpreting this mall as an outdoor bazaar, inclusive and not gated, a human celebration of the future tropical city. A small amphitheatre at the end of the court hosts cultural shows at specified times. The shops are framed by a colonnade that is a collage of various traditional Indian columns. The mezzanine floor over the bazaar is for displays, a gallery for enjoying the activity below, and an outdoor restaurant area. Resources: Large parts of the pavilion can be knocked down to maximize re-use at the time of handing the site back in the state that it was. Many floors are not set in cement; many roofs are interlocked precast concrete planks; steel piles form the foundation. Many building systems demonstrate flexibility for upgrading, a basic adaptive technique for future-readiness. Low Energy and crafted materials are demonstrated and the use of waste materials incorporated in the design. The design is a distinctive, complex Indian response to the modern minimalism of tensile structures or geodesic domes globally, in that it uses the material in a craft-oriented, trans-modern way. State-of-the art low-energy efficient systems are used for cooling and lighting. A small windmill and roof mounted solar cells integrate renewable energy which is generated at almost all times. The India pavilion is a zero-chemicals area with safe runoff and no effluents. It uses plants to recycle water for the plants and demonstrates rainfall harvesting to assure supply in periods of little rain.

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