Luxembourg Pavilion For Shanghai EXPO 2010 By Francois Valentiny
The idea ‘forest and fortress’ comes from the literal meaning of the Chinese term for Luxembourg. The EXPO pavilion, built from steel, wood and glass, will be an open fortress around with greenery. The 15-meter-high main structure will resemble an ancient castle with large openings surrounded by medieval towers.
From the architects:
‘The motto of the EXPO is: ‘A better city, a better life’. It was this motto, the international nature of the event and the location China that provided the intellectual starting point for the design. The pavilion, a monolithic sculptural form, reflects little Luxembourg, its permeability mirrors global exchange and communication. But the meaning of the word Luxembourg in Chinese – lùsên bâo means woods and castle – is also taken up and translated into architecture. The pavilion is conceived as an open castle in green surroundings.
At the center of the complex: a tower (20 meters tall), with a silhouette with a very abstract, clearly ‘exaggerated’ form that can be traced back to the traditional type of the Luxembourg single-family house: this tower is contained in a rectangle formed by a kind of castle wall with many large openings to allow the unimpeded flow of visitors. The area between the tower and the wall is intensively planted (Luxembourg: ‘the green heart of Europe’).
The enclosing wall that can be walked along inside and also at roof level not only defines the territory of Luxembourg but also contains an exhibition space with presentation facilities for the business world. The world of culture makes its appearance in the tower where there are also VIP salons for special events. A third architectural element contains restaurant facilities and a souvenir shop.’
Client: Le Gouvernement du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg
Start of planning: 2007
Start of construction: 2008
Usable floor area: 1.630 m2
Enclosed volume: 18.150 m3
Outdoor area: 1.025 m2
‘All the materials are recyclable,’ said the architect of the pavilion, Francois Valentiny. Also, the outside walls will be translucent, on which Chinese characters will be shown. The exhibition area of the pavilion is about 1,300 square meters. The downstairs hall will stage a satellite video show displaying live scenes from the country. ‘Visitors will be able to talk with Luxembourg people through satellite. And we will bring live programs of Luxembourg events here,’ said Jeannot Krecke, the country’s Minister of the Economy and Foreign Trade.
The surrounding medieval castles will have a kindergarten and a restaurant. The restaurant will provide special food and drinks from Luxembourg, such as beer, wine, sausages and traditional dishes, as well as Chinese food. Visitors will also be able to buy Shanghai stamps, which will be printed in 2010 by the Luxembourg Post, and special Shanghai Euro coins issued by the Luxembourg Central Bank to celebrate the EXPO.
The country unveiled its plan at a ceremony to mark the signing of the participation contract with EXPO organizers. Luxembourg is the fourth country to sign the contract, after Ukraine, Hungary and Switzerland. The design plan is very unique, and not only presents Luxemburg’s reputation as the ‘green heart of Europe,’ but also embodies the theme of the Shanghai EXPO, ‘A better city, a better life’,’ said Hong Hao, director of the Bureau of Shanghai World EXPO Coordination.
‘The objective of the project is to demonstrate the concept of sustainable development through the structure and the content of the pavilion,’ said Robert Goebbels, the commission general of Luxembourg.
Occupying just a small area in the EXPO site, the Luxembourg Pavilion is planning on making full use of the limited space by integrating wisdom and imagination to demonstrate its theme of ‘Small Is Also Beautiful’.
Pavilion Highlights according to the EXPO representatives:
The pavilion design concept comes from the literal Chinese translation of Luxembourg -’forest and fortress.’ Its profile is inspired by the medieval tower. The pavilion will be covered with a plant wall conveying the image of a forest with a tower that will be surrounded by greenery.’
People-friendly designs including ample entry gates and exits will allow visitors to avoid long lines and ensure a long stay in the pavilion.. Visitors may watch video programs, or take a rest while enjoying the beautiful scenery on the green roof. Children can also play in the game area at the open wing tower.
An allocated space for cultural exchange will be set up at the center of the 15-meter tower, featuring a two-way audiovisual transmission via satellite between Luxembourg and Shanghai.
The design presents Luxemburg’s reputation as the ‘Green Heart of Europe’ by demonstrating the concept of sustainable development. Built from steel, wood and glass, all recyclable materials, the pavilion will be a perfect example of a modern and comfortable lifestyle.
As another highlight of the pavilion, the restaurant will serve food and beverages from Luxembourg, such as beer, wine, champagne, sausages and traditional dishes, as well as Chinese food. Visitors will also be able to buy souvenirs and special products including ‘Shanghai’ stamps produced by the Luxembourg Post in 2010, and ‘Shanghai’ commemorative Euro coins issued by the Central Bank of Luxembourg in celebration of EXPO 2010.