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ABT engineers Dutch pavilion at Expo 2010 in Shanghai

Happy Street
Happy Street
Plans for the Dutch pavilion at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai have been presented and the Chinese media are already calling the Happy Street project one of the most striking expo submissions they have received. The bridge, which runs high and low over the site like a roller coaster, is technically far from ordinary too. ABT is currently developing the structural, architectural, materials and installation aspects of the design by architect/artist John Körmeling.

artist impression
artist impression
The theme of World Expo 2010 is ‘Better City, Better Life’. Körmeling believes a better city starts with a better street. His 350 metre Happy Street ‘roller coaster’ rises to a maximum height of 13.3 metres. Hanging off the side of the street are 20 ‘houses’ in various Dutch building styles, from a 17th century canal-side merchant’s house to a building in the style of the Rietveld-Schröderhuis.
The pavilion displays include Dutch inventions in the areas of energy-saving and sustainability. Visitors can see into the houses from the street and enter four of them. Körmeling’s design is a clean break with the traditional seriousness of world expo designs. His aim is a carnival-like atmosphere that puts a smile on visitors’ faces. He also showcases the country’s rich building tradition.

maquette
maquette
Happy Street is technically an extremely complex structure. All the pavilion’s weight is carried on columns, with no stabilising walls. The hanging houses create considerable eccentric loads. Earthquakes, not unknown in this part of China, are a risk of quite a different nature. Besides taking into account this very ‘un-Dutch’ load, the structure must not cause too much vibration as a result of the millions of visitors who will soon be walking over it.

ABT is developing the project to the so-called Definitive Design Plus (DO+) level. Local parties, including Tongji University in Shanghai, will be assisting with construction. The completed design is due in April, with the building of Happy Street due to start late this year. The Dutch government and the business community are funding the construction, fitting out and operation of the pavilion at a cost of 20 million euros.

‘Shanghai’ is ABT’s third Expo pavilion. It was also involved in the design of the pavilions in Seville (1992) and Hannover (2000).