Tour Trend - Expo

The Expo in miniature

By Wu Yiyao (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-09-03 08:18
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 The Expo in miniature

A young girl creates a model of the China Pavilion. Asianewsphoto

The latest craze is building scale models of Expo pavilions, Wu Yiyao reports.

A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but some have found new ways to relive their Expo 2010 Shanghai experiences, test their creativity and discover new ways to reuse old materials - building models of Expo pavilions.

Once considered a hobby for children, constructing small model versions of pavilions has become a popular activity for both young people and adults.

Competitions for making miniature Expo pavilions have been increasingly popular in kindergartens and schools and on online forums. Building pavilions at home is also thought to be beneficial for developing artistic abilities, promoting awareness of environment protection and promoting teamwork.

The most popular pavilion to recreate has overwhelmingly been the UK Pavilion, nicknamed the Seed Cathedral, with its thousands of shining rods that sprout from the pavilion's facade.

"Basically you just need to pierce some toothpicks into a ball-shaped object. It could a piece of soap, a potato, a tomato, an apple, or dough," said Wang Xinyuan, a 7-year-old student who built a replica of the pavilion.

This year, the UK Pavilion won one of the United Kingdom's top international architectural awards, the Royal Institute of British Architects' Lubetkin Prize. With seeds sourced from the Germplasm Bank of Wild Species at the Kunming Institute of Botany, encased in each of the pavilion's 60,000 slender transparent rods jutting from its facade, the pavilion is a favorite for many visitors.

Like many others who have made model pavilions, Wang said that he enjoyed creating the pavilion and that it was the first time he had done that kind of project.

To mimic the special design of the rods, he used 300 toothpicks. "Any fewer and it looks too sparse and more makes it look like a hedgehog," he said.

"A hand-made model of a pavilion has a special meaning, more than a picture or souvenir could offer, because no money will buy something like this," he said.

The China Pavilion has also been a favorite among model makers.

"Many of my friends enjoy making mini-China Pavilions because we can build it with chopsticks," said Mao Junjun, a 27-year-old accountant. He joined an online group dedicated to making Expo replicas. Many of the group members exhibit their projects online.

But it is not easy to interlock the beams together.

"It requires a lot of calculation about the ratio of lengths of each block and the gap between each layer," Mao said. "I tried several times, but the draft did not look good at all."

 The Expo in miniature

A group of young men with a mini version of the Turkey Pavilion, which they built in June. Photos by Asianewsphoto

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