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London, UK – Heatherwick Studio's British Pavilion wins the Lubetkin Prize

‘Seed cathedral’ wins Lubetkin Prize

Heatherwick Studio’s UK Pavilion at the Expo 2010 Shanghai (AR May 2010) has won the Lubetkin Prize for the most outstanding work of international architecture by an RIBA member. It beat two other projects: Timberyard Social Housing in Dublin by O’Donnell + Tuomey, and the Anchorage Museum in Alaska by David Chipperfield Architects (AR August 2009).

Dubbed the ‘seed cathedral’, the UK Pavilion is made of 60,000 acrylic rods. A seed pod is cast into each of the rods, so the pavilion’s contents become its structure. In the vast Expo zoo, Heatherwick’s is a standout project, attracting 50,000 visitors daily.

The Chinese call it pu-gong-ying, the dandelion clock, but its lifespan is limited. When dismantled at the Expo’s end, the filaments will be distributed among Chinese schools as an educational resource. There has been talk of trying to save it for the nation and bring it back to the UK, but to date the cost has been judged prohibitive. Time for a secret millionaire, perhaps?

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