Shanghai Expo Building, China: Knippers Helbig

Shanghai Expo 2010 Building, Pavilion, Image, Architect, Design, Winner, News

Shanghai Expo Building

Megastructure Architecture China – design by SBA GmbH / Knippers Helbig

31 Mar 2010

Megastructure – Expo Shanghai 2010

The world’s largest membrane roof spans the entrance and boulevard building of the World Exposition in Shanghai, designed by Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineering, Stuttgart / N.Y.

Expo Shanghai 2010 Expo Shanghai 2010 Expo Shanghai 2010
photos : Thomas Ott, Mühltal

Realising this membrane roof takes Stuttgart’s traditional engineering architecture internationally to the head of unique technical innovations. The combination of the membrane structure, which has a surface of 65,000 m2 in total with a span of 100 m, and the six steelglass funnels of 45 m height, formed of a freeform double-curved framework, constitutes the landmark of the Expo Shanghai 2010 and demonstrates the result of a successful German-Chinese cooperation at the same time.

After the Olympic Games in Bejing, the Expo in Shanghai is the biggest international event. At the time of the opening in May, the organisers expect over 70 million visitors. The slogan ’Better City Better Life’ puts life in the cities of the 21st century at the heart of the exposition. Besides the China-Pavilion, the Expo Boulevard is the largest and most significant building on the site. It forms the central entrance area and provides 350,000 m2 effective area for numerous facilities for the exposition. Via the round 1 km long and 100 m wide axis, which stretches across the entire site to the Huangpu river, the visitors are guided to the various national and theme-based pavilions. The Expo Boulevard is one of five buildings, which will remain after the world exposition to form the centre of a new urban district of Shanghai in the long run. The winning competition design for the central boulevard originates by the architectural and urban design practice SBA from Stuttgart.

Expo Shanghai 2010 Expo Shanghai 2010 Expo Shanghai 2010
photos : Thomas Ott, Mühltal

The Expo Boulevard is covered by a membrane roof with a total surface of 65,000 m2, the currently largest of its kind world-wide. With a free span of almost 100 m, it sounds the limits of technical feasibility. The roof is carried by 19 interior and 31 exterior masts and by six funnel shaped framework shells consisting of steel and glass. It has a height of 45 m and a free projection of 80 m. These so called Sun Valleys direct natural light into the basements.

The design and development of the structure originate by Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineering Stuttgart / New York. In terms of structure and shape, the roof structure lives up to Stuttgart’s tradition of the internationally respected lightweight constructions. By these means, it continues a row of outstanding architectural engineering works, such as the tent construction of the German Pavilion at the World Exposition 1967 in Montreal, as well as the geodesic framework- dome for the American Pavilion R. Buckminster Fuller.

Expo Shanghai 2010 Expo Shanghai 2010 Expo Shanghai 2010
photos : Thomas Ott, Mühltal

Since its foundation in 2001, the engineering company Knippers Helbig realises structural and design development of demanding German and international construction projects involving concrete, wood and steel constructions for industrial and high-rise buildings, public buildings, sports arenas, airports and bridges. With its focus on the development of special solutions for complex parametrical or generated geometries for steel and glass roof and façade constructions, as well as the use of innovative materials such as fibre-glass reinforced plastics.

Expo Shanghai 2010 Expo Shanghai 2010 Expo Shanghai 2010
photos : Wilfried Dechau, Stuttgart

Besides the roofing of the Expo Boulevard, current projects include the Bao’an International Airport, Shenzhen / CN, the airport Dubai / UAE, the United State Institute of Peace, Washington D.C. / USA, as well as the already realised projects MyZeil Frankfurt / GER, Peek & Cloppenburg Köln / GER and the Center for Cellular and Biomolecular Research Toronto / CAN. Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineering work in close collaboration with internationally renowned architects, like Renzo Piano, Massimiliano Fuksas or Stefan Behnisch, as well as with cooperation partners from research and industry. Furthermore, Prof. Dr. Jan Knippers is head of the Institute for Building Structures and Structural Design at the faculty for architecture and urban design at the University of Stuttgart, where he engages in research and teaching, dealing with efficient wide span building structures.

Expo Shanghai 2010 Expo Shanghai 2010 Expo Shanghai 2010
photos : Thomas Ott, Mühltal

Architects for the Shanghai Expo Axis were SBA GmbH

Expo Shanghai 2010 – Further Information

Megastructure – Expo Shanghai 2010 images / information from Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineering 310310

Knippers Helbig


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