The “Weird Architecture” of China’s World Expo pavilions

Joomoo pavilion
JooMoo pavilion / © Nemesi Studio

For six months starting on May 1st, Milan is hosting the World Expo, which has been held every five years since 1851 as a showcase for human progress. The Expo is also prime venue for some incredible architecture-gazing, with grand displays of engineering and soft power on display.

Of the 53 countries constructing pavilions, China is building not one, but five. Aside from its monumental national pavilion—the second largest after Germany’s—the country is represented in four of the five corporate pavilions, mostly co-conceived with foreign architects.

Like many pavilions in the Expo, the designs of the Chinese-sponsored buildings are nothing if not adventurous—even though president Xi Jinping has called for an end to “weird architecture” like the infamous “Giant Trousers” of Beijing, designed by Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren. ….