The closed double helix of Bjarke Ingels’s EXPO 2010 pavilion

BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group,


Pavilions, Expo,

Metal, Steel,

The closed double helix in welded sheet steel of Bjarke Ingels’s Norwegian pavilion for EXPO 2010 forms an endless loop to be travelled on foot or by bicycle

The closed double helix of Bjarke Ingels’s EXPO 2010 pavilion
Bjarke Ingels designed the Danish pavilion at Expo 2010 in Shanghai in the shape of a looped spiral to encourage visitors to walk or cycle around its closed circuit without stopping.
The fact that China and Denmark are both bicycle-loving countries inspired Bjarke Ingels to design the Danish pavilion for Expo 2010 in Shanghai as a circuit in the form of a closed spiral starting out at ground level and rising to the roof, only to return to the ground again. Visitors could choose to walk the loop, taking the stairs, or ride a bicycle provided at the entrance.
The little bar and restaurant in the pavilion served the function of showing that it was hollow inside, containing a pile of Danish rocks on which Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid, one of the country’s most romantic symbols, is seated, lapped by real seawater from the Baltic Sea.
The project was built with three circles of different radiuses, all lined up to permit connection of the curves that dominated the pavilion. The vertical structure of steel profiles was then completed with walls consisting of painted and welded metal panels, the thickness of which varied from about 20cm to 65cm. This depended on the size of the profile, which in some cases ran inside it to connect the foundations with the roof, while in other cases it became a part of the weight-bearing structure of the volutes of the spirals. These jutted out to add a thrilling sensation of lightness and allow people to enter the pavilion. The walls also contained the holes required to permit the passage of light and air as required. One of the walls contained round windows of various diameters, creating a sensation of breathing.

Fabrizio Orsini

Partner in Charge: Bjarke Ingels
Project Leader: Finn Nørkjær
Team: Anders Ulsted, Annette Jensen, Armen Menendian, Cat Huang, Claus Tversted, Henrick Poulsen, Jan Borgstrøm, Jan Magasanik, Kamil Szoltysek, Ken Aoki, Kenneth Sørensen, Line Gericke, Martin Mortensen, Niels Damsgaard, Niels Petersen, Pauline Lavie, Sonja Reisinger, Teis Draiby, Tobias Hjortdal, Tommy Bjørnstrup
Code: XPO Date: 31/12/2010
Program: Culture
Status: Completed Size in m2: 3000
Project type: Competition
Client: Danish Enterprise and Construction Authority
Collaborators: 2+1, Arup AGU
Location Text: Shanghai, CHINA Location: (31.3606,121.599)
Awards: 2011 Detail Award Special Prize for Steel; 2010 Exhibitor Magazine Awards (Best Exterior Design)


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