2010 Expo pavilions: Should they stay or should they go?

2010 Expo pavilions: Should they stay or should they go?

The 2010 Expo has only just begun, but debates are already raging about what to do with the pavilions after it's all over
2010 Expo - UK Pavilion
What will happen to the UK Pavilion and other archtectural gems like it after the Expo? Maybe everyone will get to take home a rod.

The long-anticipated Shanghai 2010 Expo has finally begun and the whole city is officially in festive mood, for the next six months at least.

But while most have yet to be dazzled by the creativity and multi-styles of the 192 pavilions, some are already asking what will happen to the Expo pavilions once the Expo is over. 

Post-Expo pavilion plans 

In response to a report on Yangzi Evening News (杨子晚报) about how most of the pavilions will be demolished or dismantled after the Expo, a post on Tianya.com, one of the most popular Internet forums in China, sadly asks: “Do they have to go?”

Sustainability cannot be just about the ‘shining points,’ the highest-profile projects, but must be something the mass market can get behind. All of us need to take responsibility for the future.— Su Yunsheng, curator of the Expo Theme Pavilion

According to China Daily, once the six-month long 'party' is over, most of the buildings on the site will either be dismantled and sold off or moved back to their home countries. The exceptions to this are the China Pavilion, the Theme Pavilion, the Cultural Center, the Expo Center and the Expo Boulevard, which the city is hoping to retain as permanent city landmarks. 

The 2010 Expo took over eight years to prepare, with an estimated RMB 45 billion investment, and boasts the participation of 192 nations, “and everything will be gone after only six months. That is shocking and such a pity,” says the Tianya post. “[The Expo is] the result of society's money and wisdom, as well as the hard-work of many nations' designers and architects. It seems such a waste to have them only for such short time.”

The debate

Although many previous Expos have followed the same path of clearing the 2010 Expo site when the event finished, the article questions whether there could be a better after-use of the area.

Internet user Chuan replied to the article saying that, “It's a case of intellectual ownership, all the foreign pavilions belong to these countries.” He continues, “besides it costs too much to maintain the site after the event.”

User ZJTZJTY agrees that the 2010 pavilions shouldn't stay, stating, “Such a big piece of land can be used to develop many things.” Not a bad thing to think about with Shanghai real estate prices still climbing.

Some question whether Shanghai Expo is simply another face-gaining project.

“None of the participating countries spent money to build the pavilions, it's the investment of our 'hexie guo' [harmony kingdom] only,” writes Shanghai netizen Naneng Hui E La.

Another user counters that point saying, “The people who benefit from the 2010 Expo are not us common people, and they don't care about whether tax-payers money's wasted or not.”

Some suggest the Expo should prolong its visit time period due to China's large population. “The buildings should be kept for longer use as China has too many people, so it can accommodate China's needs,” comments Kuai Qiangshou on Tinaya.com

Interestingly enough, few respond to the piece concerning the fact that China has marketed this as a green Expo and demolition of the buildings, unless the materials are re-used, is anything but green. Su Yunsheng, curator of the Expo Theme Pavilion who led the team that submitted the winning Expo Master Plan bid tells CNNGo that his colleagues pushed the Expo [staff], particularly on the notion that “sustainability cannot be just about the ‘shining points,’ the highest-profile projects, but must be something the mass market can get behind. All of us need to take responsibility for the future,” Su says.

With the original Shanghai 2010 Expo goals so lofty and green, we’re sure the debate for what to do with the Expo site will continue well after its six-month run is over.

Now a writer and art communicator based in Shanghai, Xing has also been covering the Shanghai's LGBT issues for local publications since the summer of 2009.

Read more about Xing Zhao