Held in Chongming, Shanghai, China’s annual flower expo transformed their Century Pavilion venue into a beautiful sight.
Positioned in a rare botanic exhibition hall, Century Pavilion consists of two sections, one being a multi-media showroom in the eastern wing and the second being a plants showroom in the western wing. There is a silk bridge hanging across the main axis connecting each. An open facade system was used to increase cross ventilation and natural lighting and to avoid large energy consumption.
Replicating metamorphosis, the form of Century Pavilion is abstracted from Luehdorfia chinensis, a Chinese species of butterfly which is seen as a national treasure. The sloped roof creates a solid wall of flowers that contrasts with the open north facade and the concise curvature benefits both form and space, presenting the image of a flying butterfly.
A concrete shell was introduced to minimise structural depth and spans over 280 meters, supported by forestry leaning columns and developed from a single arch into a continuous arch to adapt to the butterfly's free form boundary.
To ensure the purity of curvature, the pipelines were concealed in an underground mezzanine which was developed from structure foundation counteracting arch thrust. Sunlight is directed to the dark interior via light guides, enhancing the atmosphere of the cave-like space, and the contrast between the calm interior and colourful exterior is emphasised.
Prefabricated forms are replaced by a tip positioning system and more than 30 thousand pipes were erected in a 800mm x 800mm grid to locate the coordinates of the shell's lower surface. To stabilize plants on the sloped roof, the planting layer was divided into 2m x 2m blocks to plant flowers separately and is thus convenient for replacing.
Images by Wenyi Liu for ArchDaily