Seed Cathedral, UK Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010

Heatherwick Studio
Shanghai, 2010

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Data

  • Completed: May 2010
  • Floor area: 6,000m2
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Funding: Public and private sector sponsors
  • Address: Shanghai Expo 2010, Shanghai, 201100, China

Professional Team

Temporary twenty-metre high pavilion constructed from 60,000 transparent optical strands, to display the Millennium Seedbank of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew

The 105 m2 pavilion, titled the 'Seed Cathedral', was accompanied by a 4,495 m2 multi-layered landscape designed to provide open public space for visitor relaxation and circulation, as well as to house installations.

Each of the 60,000 optical strands that formed the pavilion was 7.5m long, with a seed embedded within its tip. During the day, the interior was illuminated only by the daylight that filtered past each seed through each optical strand. At night, light sources inside each fibre allowed the entire pavilion structure to glow. When windy, these optical fibres move.

After the Expo the Seed Cathedral’s optic hairs were distributed across China and the UK to hundreds of schools as a legacy of the UK Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai Expo.

Materials

Optical fibres