The UK’s Seed Cathedral is the best pavilion at the 2010 Expo, hands down. After getting a chance to go inside, I’ve decided I want to not only worship but live amongst its 60,000 fiber-optic-lit seeds. Wouldn’t you?
Click the thumbnails to launch the gallery
I’ve been inside many of the pavilions here (a look at many of them is coming up in a few hours), and the UK’s does everything right: an interesting, thoughtful (but not overwrought) concept, a form that matches that concept seamlessly, absolutely stunning visuals, a sense of humor, and practicality–it’s a comfortable place to be. You leave feeling not as if you’re personally acquainted with every person in the UK or the passions that lie at the heart of the country and its people (the king of all Expo cliches)–no, you leave wishing thanks to the Brits for giving you such a nice place to spend an hour or so. And that’s a good feeling.
Launch the gallery to check out more of this wonderful place.
Everyone here has waited a long time for this moment–the lines continue to be among the longest at the Expo.
Inside a Seed-Filled Disco Ball
From afar, that’s how it appears. I told you it would be a great place to live.
Designed by Thomas Heatherwick (does a more British name exist?), the pavilion’s main idea is that to live, humans need plants. Simple as that.
Enter the Kew Gardens Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild plant seed bank in the world. Like all seed banks, its mission is to keep a living archive of the planet’s wildly diverse plant life, protecting against worst-case scenario extensions or invasive species disruptions.
Yes, There’s One in Every Rod
Every single six-meter-long transparent rod carries an individual seed embedded on the inside end. The same rods extend through the pavilion’s walls, creating its spiny outer casing.
And There Are a Lot of Rods
It took a year for them all to be threaded into the pavilion’s walls by hand.
When the pavilion comes down, the rods and seeds will be donated to schools across the UK and China.
I Did Not Want to Leave
Or stop taking photographs.
If you stare into the rods, you can see all the way through to the outside of the pavilion.
If I Lived Here, This Would Be My Yard
It had been raining all morning, yet the finely shredded faux-grass surface was dry enough to sit on. Another point for the Seed Cathedral. It’s oddly comforting, relaxing in its presence.
Nicknamed the Dandelion
In Mandarin, the same character is used at the end of the pronunciation of “UK” and the word for a dried dandelion seed puffball. Take a deep breath…
It Still Looks Like an Illusion
No matter how many times I see it.
The Rods’ External Ends
On one end, seeds and light; the other, the outside world
The Park’s Surface
It’s meant to resemble an unwrapped gift.
Looks like I have some competition once this present goes on the housing market.