Theme: Feel the Harmony
Austria’s pavilion centers on its important musical heritage while simultaneously reflecting the harmonious relationship between nature and the city that the country aims for in its own urban centers. Guests will make their way through the pavilion to the sound of Austrian music ranging from the Classical era – including the well-known orchestral piece, Blue Danube – all the way to contemporary tunes. The open design flows uninterrupted, like music. Within the white porcelain-like walls, images of Austria’s mountains, forests, rivers and fields of flowers will surround visitors. At the end of the exhibit, guests will be invited to linger in the harmony of urban and rural space in the garden café.
Theme: The Living City: Inclusive, Sustainable, Creative
One of the biggest pavilions at 6,000 square meters, Canada’s offering is the size of two-and-a-half regulation NHL ice hockey rinks, fitting for the country whose favorite sport is ice hockey. In the shape of the letter "C," the pavilion will make use of innovative and environmentally sound design elements, including walls of Canadian red cedar and green plants, a drainage system that collects rainwater for use inside the pavilion, sun-breakers, and a white roof membrane to reduce heat. Guests will be treated to a show by Cirque du Soleil performers before entering the pavilion, where they will learn about Canadian culture, heritage and innovation.
Theme: Sprout of a New City
Inspired by dissatisfaction with the organization of urban centers around units of private space – with little thought given to collective movements – the Chilean pavilion imagines a new model for understanding how urban dwellers interact. The central idea is that private spaces should be minimized and public spaces improved, allowing more opportunities for collaboration as opposed to mere interaction. A newly developed building material made largely of recycled glass has been used to construct the pavilion, and apart from the foundations, every element of the structure can be recycled or reused. Inside the pavilion, visitors will be led along a wooden path through rooms housing different exhibitions. In keeping with the philosophy of the offering, every room will open into a large central public space.
Theme: Rural-Urban Interaction
The Switzerland pavilion has no real exterior walls. Instead, two large cylinders support a grassy rooftop from which hangs a curtain of aluminum netting and electricity-generating solar cells. These cells will convert the ambient energy of the pavilion into light, demonstrating how a renewable energy can be employed in a city. Imposing images of the Alps – breathtakingly beautiful, but cold and hard – will remind visitors that the natural world can be a harsh environment for humans. The tension between rural and urban elements will be maintained as visitors take a seat on an Alpine mountain chairlift and enjoy the view of the Shanghai skyline while floating over the natural, green roof of the pavilion.
The United States
Theme: Rise to the Challenge
The US pavilion’s theme refers to the American spirit of hard work and ingenuity. While queuing at the entrance of the pavilion, visitors will be greeted by a statue of the quintessential American; Ben Franklin, statesman and inventor. The statue will hold a moving kite and films will be shown about Franklin’s life and work. From the entrance, visitors will be led into a theater where they will view a multimedia presentation hosted by an animated Franklin. Finally, they will move into the exhibition area featuring displays on American scientific, environmental and technological achievements. The large population of Chinese-Americans will also be acknowledged in the exhibition.
Theme: A Better Life, a Better City
The Venezuelan pavilion is a crazy figure-of-eight based on the M?bius strip, a geometric riddle that confuses the eye and confounds the mind. The shape of the pavilion illustrates the way in which the various cultures of Venezuela are all connected. Visitors will be greeted by a statue of Simon Bolivar, the general who liberated the country from Spanish control. From the mezzanine, guests will be able to survey the vast interior of the pavilion. Large screens around the pavilion will project real-time footage from Venezuelan cities, while images from the Expo are simultaneously projected on screens in Venezuela.
Theme: Thainess, A Sustainable Way of Life
For centuries, Thailand has prided itself on being a place where people live in harmony with nature. In the first exhibition, visitors experience the lifestyle of the early Siamese, weaving through a series of exhibits focusing on Thailand’s relationship with rivers and canals as a means of nourishment and transport. The second hall depicts Thailand’s relationship with foreign countries and foreign immigrants, as well as the interaction between urban and rural communities. In hall three, visitors will be shown what it means to be Thai. These exhibits will move beyond the "veneer of technological sophistication" and the "international way of living" the Thais have adopted over the years, and focus on that which is the "substance" of the Thai soul – simplicity and happiness.
Theme: Cities of Harmony
Inspired by the Sanchi Stupa, an ancient Buddhist temple, the Indian pavilion exhibition will connect the country’s glorious past with its contemporary realities. The exhibit will explore the tensions between urban and rural India, its spiritual heritage and its journey to modernization. The pavilion is constructed of energy-efficient materials including bamboo, while solar and wind power is employed to provide electricity. The rooftop dome is covered with an herb garden, inviting nature into the display and creating a sense of antiquity. Within the pavilion, Indian artisans will sell their wares and Indian cuisine will be served at the restaurant.
Theme: Happy Street
The Dutch offering for the Expo resembles a little child’s fantasy come to life: a giant playground full of 26 toy houses. The homes won’t be open to the public, but visitors will be able to walk through the neighborhood on a figure-of-eight path, chosen for its connotations of "fortune" in Chinese culture. The open-concept pavilion is a reflection of the open-minded Dutch people. A small but densely populated country, Holland believes its insights into urban problems are worth sharing. Each of the houses will feature a different exhibit on issues including water, energy, use of space and other urban concerns. The goal of the designers is to create an image of Holland as integrating its technological development with the environment and the needs of its people.
Theme: New Russia, City and Citizen
Inspired by the fantasies of children, the Russian exhibit will be based on "The Adventure of Dunno and His Friends," a fairytale by writer Nikolay Nosov. Inside the pavilion, visitors must imagine themselves as Dunno and his friends, travelling to magical places where cars run on strawberry jelly and people live in houses made of cake. The pavilion has three elements: the 12 outer towers, the "hovering" cube inside and the interior exhibit. The story of Dunno takes visitors through the City of Flowers where they will learn about environmentally-sound technologies; into the City of the Sun to experience new sources of green energy; and then on to the City of the Moon to discover Russia’s vision of the future and revisit its advances in space exploration.
Theme: Tales of Kathmandu City
As the birthplace of Buddha, it is fitting that Nepal has chosen to explore the history of the religion in its Expo pavilion. The mountainous nation will exhibit Buddhist artifacts and statues as well as arts and crafts that display its rich cultural history. In the middle of the site is a replica of Kathmandu’s Boudha Stupa, the largest temple of its kind in the world and one of the holiest sites in Buddhism. The wooden exterior of the pavilion imitates the traditional buildings of Kathmandu, the 2,000 year-old capital city. Each of the doors and windows on the wooden exterior of the pavilion took a team of craftsman between 20 and 25 days to carve. A total of 350 Nepali families created the exterior of the pavilion, as well as the handicrafts exhibited inside.