I am happy to be invited to the Australia Pavilion’s construction site inside the Shanghai 2010 Expo Site. Thanks to Anna from Ogilvy PR, and Australia Pavilion team. This is the second time I participate in an even of the Australia Pavilion. I feel very involved with the project. (This was my report from the last time when the foundation was completed).
The Location of the Australia Pavilion
I would complain a little bit that there is no map available to outline the exact location of each pavilion on the Shanghai Expo web site. I searched, and was not able to find one (any reader can point to a direction if you know the existence of this map?). By visiting the construction site, I am able to have some rough idea about where the site is.
It is at the east of the Lupu Bridge, and just south of an elevated pedestrian. On its east is the Expo Theme Pavilion, and Shanghai Expo Center – the two permanent constructions. My first impression is, the Shanghai Expo is so big, and I have no idea about whether the Australia Pavilion has a good location or not – it seems to be the center of the whole site.
This is the relative location with the Lupu Bridge
The Construction Team of the Pavilion
Just as when people review the previous several expo in the history, they will surely put more effort in analyzing how the country prepare for the expo (just like the articles I read today about Qing Dynasty’s participation in the previous few expo), the culture exchange, contrast, and conflict already happens way before the expo starts. Australia Pavilion is an example.
The building of Australia Pavilion was conducted by Bovis, which claimed to be one of the biggest construction company in Australia. The project managers and the management team are Australian, and the workers, of cause, are from China.
The first impression of the construction site was, it was pretty safe. When people like us arriving at the construction site with all kinds of cloths, we were asked to wear the protection equipment, including gloves, a hard hat, glasses for eye protection, and a shining safety dress. After everyone dressed up, it seemed to be a very professional group. The workers, of cause, are very well dressed and protected.
For the topping ceremony, most of the workers have already withdrew from the site, and lined up to witness the ceremony. I started to search about my memory of Chinese construction site: Is this normal safety standard or higher? Since I haven’t visited a Shanghai local construction site yet, I had no basis of comparison, but my gut feeling is, safety was pretty deeply coined into this construction site. Impressive, I would say.
After everyone arrived, including the VIP guest, the Minister of Trade, a very brief ceremony was held. A big red box with green tree in it was elevated to the top of roof, to mark the milestone of the construction.
Here is the culture conflict point: when the tree quietly “fly” to the top, I heard the construction worker with obvious Sichuan accent commented behind me: “Just this? Where is the firework?” I feel the same thing. Why important event like the completion of the main structure happened without any sound?
Well. I’d like to add here, just as I did in the West meets East section of this blog, I tried to explore, write, and explain the conflict, and help people to understand the differences. There is nothing right or wrong, just the different. With the globalization, people may find out the right mixture in the future such like a big green tree flies onto the top with fireworks fired along with it. Right?
The Site Itself
It is obviously overstated that the Australia Pavilion has completed. It is still far from a completion. It is just the main structure completion – the key semen-tin building in the middle that support the weight of the building. Around this main building, a huge number of big poles are to be built to form the unique curve of building.
The most part except the middle are built with steel. My personally feeling is, it is not as complicated or costly as I thought. It is just like a big toy bricks of steels. The workers just need to number all the parts, and assembly it at the site. With the right diagram, it may seem as easy as assembly a piece of IKEA furniture.
The building blocks of the Pavilion
The Australia Pavilion is among the first to construct – there are many pavilion not yet start construction yet, and they are very aggressive to make it a big hit. It is clear that all the pavilions have started competing for attention already, although it is 1 year from the starting day. On the same day, two other pavilions have similar events. Hmmm… The show has started.
After visiting the construction site of Australia Pavilion in the sunny morning, and I started to think about the ultimate question about why we have Expo. Although as costly as it seems to, to have a chance for people to work together, and put everything so different into the same place, may create something that is never possible otherwise. It is just like a costly art work – the change it brings to people is maybe bigger than what people expected. let’s just wait and see whether the magic or chemistry happens.