[Web-share]: Indian pavilion rewrites China’s architecture rulebook

Article shared from 'AddThis' toolbar available in the online version of 'The Hindu', a leading national newspaper in India

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When Zhao Yue Ting bid for the contract to build India’s pavilion at the Shanghai Expo, the Chinese engineer had little idea of what he was getting himself into.

The design, centred on an 18 metre-tall bamboo dome, confounded Chinese engineers. Bamboo, strangely enough, is rarely used in constructions in China — so much so that, Mr. Zhao says, there was no building code for him to follow.

“This design was very unusual for construction experts in China,” he says. “The engineers did not know how to proceed. Most of the workers had never worked with bamboo. And to top it all, the government was convinced it would not be safe.”

The design envisaged that the 35 metre-wide dome — it will be the world’s biggest bamboo structure — would be supported entirely by hundreds of 20 metre-long pieces of bamboo.

For three months, Mr. Zhao and his colleagues at the China Jingye Engineering Corporation, one of the country’s largest firms, worked to ease the worries of the Shanghai government, conducting a dozen safety checks and fire-resistance tests.

Simon Velez from Colombia, one of the world’s premier bamboo experts, was roped in. Engineers even built a full-scale sample model, following Indian building codes, to assure officials that the structure would be safe.

The expansive dome now stands completed, supported by an intricate network of more than 500 pieces of bamboo. The bamboo has been brought from Anji, in the Zhejiang province, China’s bamboo capital.

The design has so impressed Chinese officials and architects that Mr. Zhao’s company has now been commissioned to conduct a 6-million Yuan study on bamboo construction, and even come up with a building code for future constructions.

The company has received offers from within China to build similar structures.

The Shanghai government has announced that, after the Expo concludes in October, every country’s pavilion, save for China’s, will be dismantled so that the government can recoup some of its huge investment by selling what has now become prime real estate in Shanghai.

India’s dome will, however, be spared demolition. The local government in Wushi, Zhejiang, is so impressed with the buzz generated by the design that it has offered to dismantle the pavilion and reassemble it back in Wushi, piece by piece of bamboo.

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Original article at: The Hindu : News / International : Indian pavilion rewrites China’s architecture rulebook
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