Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
THE EXPO-AXIS Gates in Shanghai, China by SBA International
April 13th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
70 Million expected visitors were welcomed by the entrance building of Stuttgart architects SBA International on EXPO 2010.
The architectural and town planning office SBA International supplied the draft and plans for the EXPO-AXIS with a floor space of 334,000 sqm. In 2006, the office won the international architects’ competition. The competition was awarded for a design of the central boulevard that welcomes EXPO visitors and leads to the EXPO premises through access controls. On the subterranean levels, rooms were to be provided for gastronomy and various service facilities. The building also was to be a link for three metro stops.
The architects drew the design plans in Stuttgart and developed the main details. During construction, they were on site in Shanghai for design supervision. The architects were supported by Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineering Stuttgart/New York in planning the bearing structure for the roof construction, and by Scholze Consulting GmbH from Leinfelden-Echterdingen in the energy concept. Re-interpretation of a boulevard’s public area is the basic idea of the EXPO-AXIS. It is the architects’ contribution to the EXPO’s slogan of “better city – better life”. In this structured town layout, the borders between building and landscape dissolve. It is a mega structure consisting of manifold public spaces in human scale. In combination, they will remain in everyone’s memory as a landmark.
The structure’s main elements are the four different levels with integrated boxes, the Sun Valleys, the green ramp with its Pocket Parks, the squares at the entrance and at the water, and the membrane roof. These framework features vary over the complete length of 1000 meters and were designed and modified by the architects specifically for the special conditions of the respective site. For example, the Sun Valley at the entrance square with its elliptic basic shape seems to grow towards the visitors, while another Sun Valley in the middle of the building emphasises the central position with its shape that is mirrored along two axes. The complete surface of the Sun Valleys amounts of approx. 32,000 sqm and was formed by more than 10,000 steel knots, each of which is unique. The membrane roof opens towards the Expo grounds and offers visitors protection without obstructing the view of the exhibition.
Only a few days after the opening, on 13 May, the EXPO-AXIS received its first award for ecologyand architecture, awarded by “Région Rhône-Alpes” and the Chinese trade journal “Time+Architecture”.
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