So here is (some of) the story of the USA pavilion at the 2010 World Expo. Since I realized too late where it was, I just couldn’t retrace my steps there on Saturday. Finding a picture of the completed pavilion on-line is surprisingly hard, and a rendition of it is shown below. It’s supposed to be an eagle with welcoming ‘arms’ drawing people in. I don’t know that I see an eagle there.
Clive Grout, the Canadian architect commissioned to design pavilion is on record saying :
“The building is designed here the way we’d do it if it was in downtown Philadelphia or in Los Angeles. It’s a model for high-density, low-rise development in our cities. We have a very prominent site and it is the USA Pavilion. People will find it. We have not felt the need to do an architectural handstand to get attention.”
[Well blah. A little architectural flair would have been nice].
And here is a blunt assessment of a Chinese journalist (I lost the name of the person and the publication) : “The lack of enthusiasm in America has something to do with its national traditions. America has traditionally pursued isolationism and is only concerned with itself rather than the outside world. Even though things changed after the Second World War, on the whole, Americans still believe devoutly that “all politics are local,” and congressmen only care about things that affect their own district. Naturally they do not approve of allocating money for this Exposition”.
[Funding for the pavilion had to be raised from private donors, due to legislative limitations prohibiting the use of appropriated funding for an American presence at World’s Fairs unless expressly authorized by Congress].