The theme of Expo 2010 is “Better City, Better Life,” representing the common wish of the whole humankind for a better living in future urban environments. This theme represents a central concern of the international community for future policy making, urban strategies and sustainable development. In 1800, 2% of the global population lived in cities. In 1950, the figure raised to 29%, in 2000, almost half the world population moved into cities, and by 2010, as estimated by the United Nations, the urban population will account for 55% of the total human population.
The quest for a better life has run through the urban history of mankind. Through different sub-themes, Expo 2010 will create blueprints for future cities and harmonious urban life styles, providing an extraordinary educational and entertaining platform for visitors of all nations:
●Blending of diverse cultures in the city
●Economic prosperity in the city
●Innovations of science and technology in the city
●Remodelling of communities in the city
●Interactions between urban and rural areas
The spirit of the Greek pavilion and a brief description
“POLIS, the Living City”: The Greek pavilion addresses the theme of this year’s expo through a human centered approach. Polis, the Greek city constitutes “a city for living well” but also a live, a vibrant city! The design refers to the urban fabric, not as a physical replica, but as an interpretation of living and functioning in the city, as a reminder of the joy of the urban life. It not only exhibits the every day way of life but it also reflects an insatiable thirst for living. The POLIS (city) of Greece is well acknowledged for its “livelihood” and “liveability”.
Moreover, the inclusion of “polis” in the theme, highlights the historical association among the ancient Greek words: “politis” (citizen), “politismos” (civilisation), “politia” (state), “politevma” (constitution), “policy” and “politics”, or even among composite words like acropolis, cosmopolis, ecumenopolis, metropolis and technopolis. This indicates that culture and policy making were an integral part of the ancient Greek city and civilization.
The Greek pavilion uniqueness is that condenses 24hrs in the life of a Greek city into the 13 hours that the pavilion will be open to the public. In fact, the pavilion can be seen as a “living organism” that follows a daily cycle synchronized with the cycle of the sun in Shanghai for the duration of the Expo.
The sense of time constitutes a central point of reference for each visitor. The unique experience they will acquire from the exhibition is directly linked to the time zone during which they will visit the pavilion.
Thus, as soon as visitors enter the exhibition area, they hear a warm welcome that also mentions the time of their visit (e.g. “Welcome to Greece. It is morning”), in three languages (Greek, Chinese and English). They then come across the exhibition title “POLIS the Living City” in the reception area, and a lighting installation of a large “solar clock” used to tell the time at the Greek pavilion. Here, visitors can obtain a “map” in order to explore the “Greek city”.
They can then draw up their own individual route in order to discover the “city” depending on their personal interests and preferences, since the exhibition does not follow a linear narrative.
Hall C: THE CITY AND THE SEA
The hall places emphasis in the contribution of the sea in the economic development of the Greek city and the importance of maritime tradition of Greece throughout the years.
The hall is built in the one corner of the “sea front”, the water tank which runs through the left side of the pavilion. Visitors can admire the view of several Greek ports, watch a ship travelling in the Aegean sea as well as shots of workers in commercial harbors and traditional shipyards.
Hall E: AGORA
The hall is constructed around a cyclorama that presents a long and continuous panoramic shot 360° of the Greek capital. A big “wheel” in the center of the room invites guests to twist the “wheel” and reveal the various aspects of the moving panorama in kyklorama. In this way visitors are actively involved in shaping the entertainment themselves.
In addition, two interactive touch screens are fitted in each side of the “wheel”, where visitors can not only watch specific shots of the cyclorama but also specific “hotspots” that invite them to touch. Overall, visitors have the opportunity during the day and night to focus on about 130 different close-ups on the side screens.
The cyclorama together with the side touch screens represent a very vivid picture of central Athens, a meeting place, a place where past coexists with the future.
Hall F: ECOLOGΥ
The hall presents ecological problems that most cities face in the early 21st century that constitute challenges of the future. Visitors are invited to “solve” these problems through the use of an interactive structure that is set in the center of the hall.
More specific, as soon as a problem is presented on the big screen (traffic jam, air pollution, environmental contamination, forest fires), human intervention is required to contain and “solve” the problem. The visitor is required to interact by placing his hands in the circular ring-construction. Should two more visitors follow his example, a sound is heard and three different solutions of the problem are presented on the side screens.
Hall G: URBAN-RURAL
The emphasis of this hall is placed on the interaction between urban and rural areas, through the selection of images that link the production of Greek traditional products with their processing and consumption.
The visitor is invited to choose a product among six Greek traditional products: virgin olive oil, wine, Greek cheeses, fruit salad with kiwi and yogurt, Greek saffron and mastiha. After he has made his choice, he is challenged to choose the sequence of projections, through the use of a structure that is set in the center of the hall, where he can learn for the processing and use of the specific product.
Hall H: THEATRE
Culture, as an integral part of everyday life in a Greek city, is presented through a construction that reflects the ancient tradition of outdoor theaters. Both ancient and modern outdoor Greek theatres constitute living cultural sites in the cities that host different types of performances.
The experience that visitors will acquire by visiting this hall is unique: they can sit back and, as spectators, enjoy the screening of a spectacle, that varies depending on the hour of the day. Shows were not staged for the purposes of the exhibition. They are live recordings that were held in Greece a few months before the EXPO and highlight the versatility of culture in the Greek city.
Hall I: LIVING TOGETHER
The hall presents images of everyday life in a Greek city through the daily activities of people belonging to different social, cultural and age groups. Emphasis is placed on the multicultural identity of the Greek city.
The images of Greeks, foreigners and mixed groups working together or having fun together, illustrate how different collectives live harmoniously together. The four screens show images according to the time zone visitors enter the hall, aiming to create a mosaic of facets of everyday life in a Greek city and carry a message of productive and creative multiculturalism. The scenes communicate tolerance, equality and freedom of expression as vital aspects of everyday life in a Greek city.
Hall J: PROSPERITY
The hall presents images exploiting the economic prosperity in Greece through employment and development. In the four screens visitors can watch aspects of technological innovation and successful economic development featuring a privileged lifestyle in the Greek city. All these videos, all ‘windows”, interact with each other in order to reveal what is happening today in a Greek city indicating prosperity. Production processes in a quarry, infrastructure, tourism development aspects, people visiting Acropolis Museum and the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus, evening shots from Metro stations are some of the images that reveal the past by linking it with modern form and create public spaces with quality for citizens.
SQUARE (with restaurant and grocery store)
Τhe Square, the agora of the ancient POLIS, where the restaurant is situated offering to the residents-visitors the opportunity to take a break from the intensive every day city life, to compensate and to communicate. At the centre of the square we find an olive tree, very representative of the Greek flora, and a grocery where Greek characteristic products like olive oil, herbs, wine, mastic, edible goods, etc. are sold. Through the sculptural effect of the presentation the grocery promotes the national production.