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© Ida Sze & Billy Chan

The theme of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo is “Better City, Better Life”, and the special theme for the Hong Kong Pavilion is “Hong Kong – a city with unlimited potential“. A concept design competition was held in 2008 and received some 80+ submissions. Ida & Billy’s submission was awarded the Frist Prize, and formed the basis for the final design and execution by the government and another architectural firm.

Their design is driven by the functional needs of the pavilion, that is how to provide the required exhbition space and other facilities within a limited space and with a height limit; and to make the Hong Kong Pavilion, which is much smaller in size than the other pavilions, to still have its own attraction and uniqness.

More images and full architect’s description after the break.

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This struggle between limited physical space and unlimited super-physical potential becomes the basic elements of the Hong Kong Pavilion. The pavilion represents a city with a physical boundary slashed to unfold its infinite dimension – the imaginative VOID where ideas go beyond any physical boundary.

This infinite dimension is made by infinite reflections generated by reflective membrane on its sky and floor, which also brings in the surrounding environment to give unbounded space. This VOID forms a distinctive visual element on the pavilion’s appearance and catches the visitors’ attention at distant.

The Pavilion’s sensuous skin made of polyethylene non-woven textile waves with wind and subtly altering its texture and lighting, adds a dimension on the intangible relationship between man and nature.

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Vertically the VIOD divides the pavilion into 3 parts, which from bottom up represent the 3 levels of city development of Hong Kong.

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The first level represents Hong Kong’s infrastructure as the foundation of Hong Kong’s success. Here visitors will first get a taste of the dense city fabric of Hong Kong by walking through large scale models of the existing and future superstructure and infrastructures.

The 2nd level represents the infinite creativity and idea exchange. Infinite reflections, interactive monitors embedded on the undulating platforms interact with LED lights on the columns, turns the space into a transparent space for information exchange. Also, this is an open platform for art performance and cultural exchange of different cultures.

The 3rd level is the highest level, the envisaged future of integration with nature and sustainable development. Under sunscreens with gentle natural light and ventilation are large projections of real-life videos of the natural wonders of Hong Kong. A video room also features documentaries on Hong Kong’s urban renewal and sustainable city development.

Through the distinctive experiences through the three levels, the visitors are called to rethink on the position of cities and the true meaning of better city and better life.

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The plans resemble city blocks packed closely together. Small, scattered columns of different orientations are used to disolve the rigidness of structure and to enhance “floating” effect.

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