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Shanghai's Explosive Expo Pavilions

Slideshow by Matt Chaban

Photography by Nic Lehoux

2239 views since June 10, 2010.

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The colorful facade of the South Korean pavilion was designed by artist Ik-joong Kang and Mass Studio.

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Both the shape of the structure and the tiles that make up its facade are representations of the Korean alphabet.

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The spaces between letters create windows of sorts...

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...and a porous surface that glows at night.

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An escalator leads into the pavilion...

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...where visitors can frolic on tessellated terraces.

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The Spanish Pavilion, designed by Miralles Tagliabue/EMBT, is a slightly more demure abstraction than its Korean neighbor.

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The structure is made from wicker scales, a nod to simpler craft making that has been pushed to the extremes of engineering.

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Again, glowing translucence is big.

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Inside, natural light streams in through the wicker panels.

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The more solid ramps and platforms almost look out of place.

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But one must get around, and a wicker stair sounds none too appealing.

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The unbeatable crowd favorite has been Thomas Heathewick's United Kingdom Pavilion.

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The structure is at once ominous and inviting.

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Just look at the crowds fighting to get in.

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What makes the structure so appealing is the fiberglass tubes that draw light within and without the structure.

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Once inside, the allure is apparent.

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Like walking through a rainbow machine.

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Three honorable mentions: Norman Foster's showy creation for the United Arab Emirates.

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A typically in-touch-with-nature entry from Finland, designed by JKMM Architects.

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And the Danish Pavilion designed by rising star BIG-Bjorke Ingels Group.

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