The 2010 Shanghai Expo focuses on the theme “Better City, Better Life”. The Danish Pavilion by BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) celebrates Danish culture and how it has contributed to sustainability. By making cities more livable, Denmark is leading the way in the Green Revolution.
I. The Danish Pavilion celebrates the new focus on the wants and needs of bicyclists and pedestrians over car drivers in its cities.
A. By 2015, a majority of Copenhageners will commute by bicycle to work. To reflect the growing importance of the bicycle to Danish culture, a bike path dictates the overall form and circulation of the Danish Pavilion.
B. To make Copenhagen more livable, the city recently cleaned up its harbor. Now Copenhageners have an urban waterfront to call their own, being able to swim and sunbathe along its banks. The Danish Pavilion acknowledges the importance of water to the city with a pool accessible to its users. It features the Little Mermaid herself and contains water from Copenhagen’s harbor.
C. On the top of the pavilion, BIG features a roof garden to challenge the notion of a roof being a static, unusable space. Since picnics are an important part of Danish culture and cities lack public space, why not use roofs as a social space?
II. Danish Architecture derives its power through simplicity and a focus on the wants and needs of its users.
A. The form of the Danish Pavilion is based on a bike path that forms a continuous loop. Bikes are an integral part of Danish culture so it makes sense for them to play a prominent role in the pavilion’s appearance.
B. The steel of the pavilion is painted white to keep the pavilion cool for its users. Its surface is perforated to allow for the penetration of light into the interior volumes. The form is dictated by the internal stresses within the steel and gives its users a sense of orientation, sense of time, and link to the world outside.