Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Close Encounters of the Dull Kind (Expo 2)

The theme of Shanghai's Expo 2010 is "Better City--Better Life" and the pavilions, cases, and exhibits on display purported to give us a glimpse of what cities of "the future" will look like. Let's hope the future is not quite so boring.

One of the themes that predominates at the Expo is what I would call "curved spaceship design." The giant Cultural Center definitely has the look:

Singapore threw some trees on top and pieces jutting, but it still falls into the round, metallic, and dull camp:

Finland gets a little credit for turning their dome upside down and going for a Noah's Ark sort of look:

China Aviation also has the bland, rounded appearance with something like a peanut shell covering:

Japan added some color to their dome, which looks like it could part of Madonna's Lady Gaga's wardrobe:

Taken alone, none of these designs are particularly bad. But when you see them one after another at an exposition that supposedly is forward-looking, you start to wonder if humanity's creative well is running dry. To me, these buildings more call to mind 1977 rather than 2027. Is this really a glimpse of the future or a rehash of the past?