June 2, 2004
by Canadian Architect
Bing Thom Architects (BTA) of Vancouver along with six other international design firms have been chosen to prepare master plans for the planning and design of Shanghai’s Expo 2010. China is expecting more than 70 million visitors and the participation of over 200 countries and international organizations in the world’s fair. This is the first time a World Expo will be hosted by a developing country and Shanghai Expo 2010 will be held over 24 weeks during the spring and summer of 2010. It is expected to be the largest fair ever held.
From an initial list of 80 international architecture and planning firms, BTA was selected as one of the teams to prepare a master plan for the design of the 2010 Expo site. The sole Canadian design firm on the list, BTA will be in the company of firms from the United States, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Japan. Additionally, three Chinese design institutes have been invited to submit plans.The master plans will be unveiled at the end of July 2004 and will be exhibited in both Shanghai and Paris.
Bing Thom feels that his firm’s selection to prepare the master plan for Shanghai Expo 2010 is important for the entire country: "This is also a terrific opportunity for Canada to show off our understanding of city building. This is something we are really good at, as attested by the fact that our cities are consistently ranked as the most livable in the world. We are planning to use this as an opportunity to promote Canadian building products and expertise to China and the world "
One of Canada’s high-profile design firms, BTA’s work is closely watched around the world: they were recently awarded the Special Jury prize at the MIPIM conference in Cannes for their Central City project in Surrey, BC. Other well known projects include the new Aberdeen Mall in Richmond, BC and the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at the University of British Columbia.
The Expo 2010 master plan will be an opportunity for Bing Thom Architects to build on three of their strengths: exposition design, waterfront planning and knowledge of China. For Vancouver’s Expo ’86, BTA designed the extremely popular Northwest Territories and Hong Kong pavilions. This success led to a chance to develop the master plan for the proposed Hong Kong Expo ’97 and later the commission to create the extraordinary Canada Pavilion for Expo ’92 in Seville, Spain. Considered the most popular pavilion of the fair, the Canada Pavilion was the sole international pavilion to be retained as a legacy building after the exposition.
Bing Thom Architects have been active in China for over 24 years. Ten years ago they won an international competition to design the master plan for the new city of Dalian. This commission was followed up with more recent planning and urban design work in Yuxi, China. The creation of waterfront development is a trademark of BTA’s urban design work and is also central to their current North American projects in Fort Worth, Texas and Washington, DC.
The theme of World Expo 2010 is "Better City, Better Life". Designers have been requested to create "an architectural masterwork with worldwide significance". The master plan will integrate Shanghai’s future urban plans with the development of the waterfront areas along Huangpu River (where the Expo site will be located). The master plan must address environmental concerns, long-lasting future use of the site, and balance contemporary design with traditional Chinese culture.