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Return to World Expo 2010: What happened next? – Day Six, Part 2 of the DCU Business School Trip to Shanghai 2010

In Angerer & Obermayr Messegastronomie, Ansgar Halbfas, Balancity, Business Education, DCU Business School, Dublin City University, German Pavilion, German-Sino House, Ireland, MBS in Marketing, MSc in Business Management, MSc in E-commerce, Next Generation Management, Pavilion of the Future, Rhone-Alpes Lighting Pavilion, Rhone-Alpes Urban Case, Shanghai, Travel, World Expo 2010 on July 28, 2010 at 8:30 pm

We had left our story with the intrepid group of DCU Business School students outside German Pavilion at 5pm in the afternoon in the summer heat of Shanghai. The German Pavilion was closed to the public but our new found friend Ansgar had agreed to meet us later in the evening to bring us on a tour….if it opened again.

Balancity.

Balancity.

With time to kill, the group went their various ways. Myself, Lorna NiMhuiri and Keith Lawless travelled back to the Puxi site to visit some of the urban best practice case pavilions in the urban square. Lorna and Keith are working on a group practicum as part of their MSc in Business Management in the LED sector and there were some possible leads for their client in the Rhone-Alpes Lighting Pavilion and in the Pavilion of the Future. After a pretty long walk and a small water fight, where there were no winners except the amused (and confused) Chinese onlookers, we eventually reached our destination. I am not sure there was much to take from the Rhone-Alpes pavilion or their light show but I really enjoyed the various exhibits in the Pavilion of the Future housed in the former Nanshi Power Plant.

Astronaut Haibao outside the Pavilion of the Future at World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. The Pavilion of the Future is housed in the former Nanshi Power Plant.

Astronaut Haibao outside the Pavilion of the Future at World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. The Pavilion of the Future is housed in the former Nanshi Power Plant.

As you walked through the Pavilion of the Future, the exhibits introduced different facets that will need to be considered in future urban design including environmental factors. Using giant books, sculptures and other media from history the exhibits go on to contextualise much of the thinking from history. The main display, Dream of Yesterday, however was the best. It was a huge hall with gigantic 36 meter high screen showing an animated film against the backdrop of themed sculptures and other settings. As you leave, you enter the Dream Is Approaching section which focuses on bringing many of the concepts that we saw in to the real world including the Intelligent Home, Healthy Community, Low-Carbon City and Harmonious Environment. There were some really good examples of cutting edge technologies from intelligent refrigerators to home biodiagnostics amongst others. Lo and behold, even Lorna and Keith found some material for their practicum – intelligent lighting is part of the future!

Multiple Possibilities in the Pavilion of the Future features a 36-metre-high screen and animated film.

Multiple Possibilities in the Pavilion of the Future features a 36-metre-high screen and animated film.

The group assembled again at the bar to have a stein of beer at the German restaurant where Ansgar was waiting with our beloved Sennheiser wireless earphones.  Angerer & Obermayr Messegastronomie of Munich run the restaurant and it is worth a visit if only for the beer…..apparently. Despite the quality of the beer, the excitement of the German pavilion was too much of a draw….even for the Irish. It was open again. Steins down, off we go!

Laureen Morrissette, Barry Sweeney, Rob Elliffe and Niamh NicClamha toast Ansgar and the German Pavilion at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

Laureen Morrissette, Barry Sweeney, Rob Elliffe and Niamh NicClamha toast Ansgar and the German Pavilion at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

The German Pavilion occupies a plot measuring around 6,000 m² – the largest area a national pavilion can be given – and they have packed in a lot – so much so, I won’t and can’t do it justice in this blog so check out the German’s really excellent virtual tour – the interactive round trip. As we had already toured the exterior, we went through the tunnel which is lit in blue (and features different media representing transport routes to enter Germany) and then in to the urban planning area, The Urban Office, where you could explore some of the German ideas around urban planning.

DCU Business School Students in the tunnel entering the German Pavilion at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

DCU Business School Students in the tunnel entering the German Pavilion at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

The German architects put a lot of effort in to interactive elements that use all the senses so you could see and touch different types of materials as well as explore mini-cases on different ideas like multigenerational housing, the evolution of transportation from individual mobility to public transportation. From the urban space, you transition into The Garden. Ansgar explained that they wanted a contrast in the design and this was achieved by using different material, such as fabrics hung from the ceiling and interactive elements hung from the same that you literally put your head in to. The Garden sequed in to The Depot, a exhibit based on a German Warehouse with towers of crates illustrating the manufacturing and design legacy of Germany – Bosch, Sennheiser, Villeroy and Boche, Hansgrohe and Adidas are just some of the famous brands I recognised. I was particularly taken with the Otto Bock Blizzard wheelchair which I didn’t no much about but is transforming the lives of many physically disabled people. Ansgar really hit home the policy of “Designed in Germany, Made in China” – a true algorithmic economy vision that Irish policymakers should not only be aspiring to but emulating.

e Germans! Beatrice Metzler and Martin Hennig (our token Germans - only kidding!) pose at The Depot in the German Pavilion at the World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

e Germans! Beatrice Metzler and Martin Hennig (our token Germans - only kidding!) pose at The Depot in the German Pavilion at the World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

As you exit the Depot, you enter the Factory exhibit which has a full production system and some sustainable product ideas. It wasn’t working while were there but Ansgar explained that usually you could control the system using some augmented reality applications they have – some of which can be controlled by your iPhone Touch. We continued quickly through The Park exhibit to the Studio.

Siobhan Buckley and Beatrice Metzler (one of our token Germans!) attempt to read their heights at the German Pavilion at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

Siobhan Buckley and Beatrice Metzler (one of our token Germans!) attempt to read their heights at the German Pavilion at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

The Studio was a really enjoyable space with lots of interactive exhibits that gave a different more light-hearted perspective on German culture and a bounty of ‘silly photo’ opps ranging from Carnival masks to German karaoke. Oh yes, we had an attempt. Who else but Laurynas, our dependable Lithuanian. He literally will try anything!

Niamh NicClamha as a little girl at Carnival (she really is the one in the middle!)

Niamh NicClamha as a little girl at Carnival (she really is the one in the middle!)

The City Square was the next exhibit. It was good to take a break and rest on some stone blocks and watch a multimedia piece on urban life in Germany but this was just an apertif for the highlight of the German pavilion, The Energy Source. The Energy Source is an interactive experience hosted by two students, a German boy and a Chinese girl. They guide, encourage and cajole the audience in to collaborating to change the color of and move the Energy Source, a large ball hanging from the centre of the ceiling in a spherical room. The Energy Source reflects the sound of the audience and follows the two hosts using concealed packs that they carry. The hosts bring you in to their show until becomes the audience’s. You really have to be there but trust me it’s good. Check out some of our German Pavilion pictures on flickr.

The Energy Source at the German Pavilion at the World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

The Energy Source at the German Pavilion at the World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

We must have made an impression on Ansgar. He recalled my interest in interactive education and organised for a private tour of the German-Sino House with the Facility Manager, Soeren Puerschel. Germany is in an unusual situation in that it effectively has two sites at the World Expo, the main pavilion and a second exhibit, which while not officially a pavilion, is nearly more impressive than many of the pavilions at World Expo, i.e. the German-Sino house.

The German Chinese House at the World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

The German Chinese House at the World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

The German Chinese House epitomises the “Designed in Germany, Made in China” philosophy and is the result of a three year study tour of the next four cities after Shanghai and Beijing. Although officially closed by the time we finished in the German pavilion, Soeren welcomed us and gave a great tour. The house structure is made of bamboo and metal – sort of representing Chinese natural resources and German engineering. Soeren explained that bamboo is a material that is cheap, underused, abundant in the Far East, sustainable, very strong but flexible. Unfortunately it has fallen out of favour. The idea of the German Chinese House is to showcase how bamboo can not only support a modern structure but looks good. And it really does!

Soeren Puerschel and Ansgar Halbfas explain the design of the German Chinese House to the DCU Business School group at the World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

Soeren Puerschel and Ansgar Halbfas explain the design of the German Chinese House to the DCU Business School group at the World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

So what about interactive education? Well, when we came Soeren had a photo taken of our group on the stairs of the House. He then brought us in to a room to face a wall with a computer application projected 16 times on it – our group numbered 16 on the visit! Serendipity was calling. Soeren and his assistants then guided us through a game whereby we built sustainable buildings through computer software which interpreted our shadows on the wall. For example, the first step required us to create a shadow in the shape of our building – the software interpreted this shape using digital cameras above and behind us and then projected our shadows as buildings.

Sean Donnelly, Niamh NicClamha and the DCU Business School group create virtual buildings at the German Chinese House at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

Sean Donnelly, Niamh NicClamha and the DCU Business School group create virtual buildings at the German Chinese House at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

We also had to simulate trees and by holding hands connect our power. When we finished all the steps all our buildings were connected and displayed as a city block in a sim city type environment accessible online at http://www.deutschland-und-china.com/media_de_detal_127.shtml. Our Game ID is 9693 – that is the address of the DCU Business School block designed at the German-Sino House. Come and visit!

Block 9693 (Designed by Irish, Made in China, Developed by Germans)

Block 9693 (Designed by Irish, Made in China, Developed by Germans)

As Soeren explained, whilst our group was the large and we knew each other, most people coming to the House come in twos and threes and have never met. The game, designed with Aachen University, not only teaches some sustainable building principles, it acts as a means of connecting people who had previously never met. Soeren brought us upstairs to show us some of the other products that have been generated from their study tour. This included modular bamboo furniture including some units themed around each of the four cities visited. Soeren urged us not just to consider Beijing and Shanghai but also the next 4-10 cities, all of which are huge by European standards – this may be a good lesson for Irish companies and indeed Irish universities.

Modular bamboo furniture design in Germany, made in China displayed at the German Chinese House at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

Modular bamboo furniture design in Germany, made in China displayed at the German Chinese House at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

After thanking Soeren and Ansgar, we had to return our VIP passes to Indrė Kumpikevičiūtė at the Lithuanian pavilion. We were all fading and in need of some nourishment so we headed to the Argentinian pavilion for some beef – it was good, really good! And so, at 10pm we left the World Expo 2010 and caught a taxi back to the Ya Fan Longmen Hotel for a drink…or two.

Time to go home. DCU Business School students leave World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

Time to go home. DCU Business School students leave World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

More photos on flickr. Day Seven to follow….
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