Eight million visitors will travel to Yeosu, South Korea, this summer to see Expo 2012 “The Living Ocean and Coast,” focused on a global vision for restoring sustainable life to the world’s marine environments. Participants from 100 nations will discuss rising sea levels, the loss of biodiversity, acidification and pollution threatening seas and coasts in a themed pavilion, “One Ocean.” The pavilion’s astounding appearance conjures up images of fish and fins (curves and shapes), the baleen filter used by whales (comb-like surface on the exterior) and underwater flora (opening and closing façade). The main entrance and side overlooking the Expo site, designed by soma architecture, Vienna, Austria, mimics the rhythms of waves and breathing—but technology, not nature, is responsible.
Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineering, Stuttgart, Germany, created the façade using 108 lamellae (thin, plate-like structures) made of glass fiber reinforced plastic, which combined high tensile strength with low bending stiffness. Compression applied at the upper and lower ends of the lamellae causes an elastic bending, and the façade opens. Pre-programmed movement and light choreography provide an inspiring focal point for visitors. To stabilize the flexible lamellae during typhoon-level winds, the 216 coordinated servo motors can close all but 13 of the lamellae. The Expo 2012 continues until August 12, 2012.