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The Australian Pavilion

Wood Marsh Architects conjure up national pride.


April 29th, 2010



The Australian Pavilion is being used as a marketing tool – the rusty curves of the façade are designed to bring to mind Uluru and the Olgas. Instant recognition of Australia, we hope.

It is beautifully executed – the textured steel curves seamlessly around, the panels held together by the ‘Azure’ cassette system developed by Bluescope Steel to ensure a perfect alignment between panels.

australian pavilion shanghai

The 38,000 visitors expected per day will snake through the ‘shed’ which has been designed around crowd control. First stop is a large gathering hall, animated by selected entertainers including acrobats.

Visitors are then funneled into a 160 metre long tube which threads in and out of the opaque steel cladding, allowing glimpses over the Expo site, and a chance to view six exhibitions, including a potted history of Australia.


australian pavilion shanghai

Eventually the journey is rewarded by entry into the central theatre where a thousand people at a time will view a nine minute animated story. Visitors will finish at a shop and café facing the 500 metre square entry hall, presumably with a nice feeling about Australia, not regretting the time spent queuing to get in.

The pavilion will be removed at the end of Expo, in accordance with the official requirements. The panels will be unclipped and the steel framing stacked for easy transport. It is unlikely to be re-used.

australian pavilion shanghai

A Vision of the future…?

The pavilion displays an Australia that is familiar. It doesn’t venture into new territory. Wood Marsh architects are masters at pre-weathered steel and its possibilities, as demonstrated in their award winning 1998 Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, ACCA, in Melbourne.

australian pavilion shanghai

Exhibition Design by ThinkOTS

Pete Ford’s Think!OTS team have proved their worth with creative design at two previous Expos.  This is a well-honed team. This exhibition is once again an example of the breadth and quality of their work. However, some are asking where are the ideas for better cities – for tackling our water shortage, the size of our future population and other issues around sustainability? Where is the vision of the future?

The answer might lie with the three children featured in the nine minute animation, who discuss their future while building a sandcastle, with the city looming over them in the background.

australian pavilion shanghai

Exhibition Design by ThinkOTS

If you get a chance to visit Shanghai during the Expo, you should grab it with both hands, if only to see how we have chosen to present ourselves to the world.

Australian Pavilion EXPO 2010

australian pavilion shanghai

Exhibition Design by ThinkOTS

australian pavilion shanghai

Exhibition Design by ThinkOTS


Project team: Wood Marsh Architecture. Roger Wood – Director, Randal Marsh – Director, Antony Martin – Project Architect
Client: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Time to complete: 12 months
Exhibition Designer: Think!OTS
Builder: Bovis Lend Lease
Local interior fit-out design, development and construction documentation: iaction
Façade: Bluescope Steel
Roofing: Lysaght
Interior paints: Dulux
Exterior pavers: Midland Brick
Interior LED lights: Lumenec
Timber veneers: Fethers
Fabric: Svenskakj
Wood flooring: Style Flooring
Carpet: Tascot Carpets, Supertuft
Sofas and armchairs: King Furniture
Dining chairs and floor lamps: Temperature Design
Wicker floor lamps: Stylecraft
Marble panels: Cairns Marble



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