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Design watch | China
A Family Affair
Two years on from Shanghai’s Expo 2010 – and its 73 million visitors – comes
The Unbeatable, a n ew bo ok by Detlef an d Mo nika Stuebe an d their daughter
Kata rin a. The team, based bet ween Shanghai, Sydn ey an d Spain , have fused
the architectu ral a nd the hu man facets of the event, producing a bilingual
480-page tome that covers a ll 84 n atio nal pavilio ns fro m big n ames like
Zaha Hadid, Foster + Partn ers, BIG architects, Miralles Tagliabu e EMBT,
Heatherwick Studio, Jacqu es Ferrier, CC Atelier de Arquitectu ra an d mo re.
We tracked down the trio at their recen t book lau n ch in Shan ghai.
How was the idea born? Mon ika: It was after Expo had closed. Katari na
and I had photographed nine pavilions on commission; Detlef had seen and
photographed 51 others by himself. Detlef told us that he would like to publish
a bo ok abo ut this remarkable event so we invited all the architects to share
their design ideas with us. We wa nted ou r bo ok to celebrate all 84 n atio nal
pavilio ns, the differen t cultu res an d the Expo people.
Favourite structures at Expo? Katari na: Spain Pavilio n by Miralles Tagliabue
EMBT with its i mpressive wicker facade and intricate engin eeri ng u nderneath;
Israel Pavilio n by Hai m Dotan Architects, co mposed of two a rchitectural
cur vilin ear forms w hich hug each other, sy mbolising cultural embrace; a nd
Saudi Pavilion (or The Moonboat) by Wang Chen Jun, which holds the world’s
biggest cu rved movie screen an d is still open to the public.
Best moments? Kat ar ina: Stepping into fre sh ly poure d con crete n ea r the
Denmark Pavilion and seeing the Little Mermaid being installed. Being on the
secret rooftop terrace of Romania Pavilion with 360-degree views of the Expo
Park. Witnessing the emotions of an elderly Chinese lady when laying her hands
and cheek on the historic Maori jade stone in front of the New Zealand Pavilion.
In your eyes, what effect did the Expo have on Chinese citizens? Kata rina:
Fro m w hat we witn essed, Chin ese people treasu red an d embraced their Expo.
We saw many people – young and old – laugh and smile and even cry from
emotion, often waiting for many hours in long queues to enter the pavilions.
Published by REVEALbooks+fotos. Available through Exp oTheUnbeatable.com.
A first for Chin a: Han gzho u-based architect Wang Shu (in set) of
Amateu r A rchitectu re Studio has scooped the prestigious Pritzker
a rchitecture prize, the first time the award has gon e to a Chinese citizen .
The 48-year-o ld’s work , which combines salvaged materials with mo de rn
forms, i ncludes the Ningbo Con temporary Art Museu m, the Ningbo
Histo ric Museu m an d the Xiangshan C ampus of the Chin a Academy of
Art in Han gzho u (right). His co mmitmen t to reu sing architectu ral materials
– fo r H angzhou , he covered the campu s buildings with more than
two million tiles fro m demolished houses – is time less, rooted in its
co n text an d with un ive rsal appeal, say the Pritzker judges. chinese-
The UK Pavilion is one of the installations
shot by Katarina, Detlef and Monika (inset).
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