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Introduction of Xi'an Horticultural Expo 2011

Xi'an Horticultural Expo 2011Theme: The enduring prosperity of the dualism of nature and mankind as reflected in the purposeful harmony between the urban and the rural, also within the city

Where: The all-new Ziwei Urban Gardensite, aka Flowing Gardens, at the Guangyuntan Scenic Area in the Chan-Ba Ecological District of the city of Xi'an

When: 28 April to 22 October, 2011

Slogan: Green Leads the Trend!

The 2011 Xi'an International Horticultural Exposition – to be referred to in the following, except where it might lead to ambiguity, as the Expo – will be held at the all-new exposition site, Flowing Gardens, located within the Guangyuntan*(1) Scenic Area in the Chan-ba Ecological District of northeastern Xi'an City. The 2011 Xi'an International Horticultural Exposition marks the third time that this important event – recognized by professional horticulturalists as the "Horticultural Olympic" – will be held in China, the two previous instances being the 2006 Shenyang International Horticultural Exposition, held in the city of Shanyang, capital of Liaoning Province, and the 1999 Kunming International Horticultural Exposition, held in the city of Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province.

Note that the theme of the 2011 Xi'an International Horticultural Exposition, as expressed in the Chinese original, involves two representations of the word "Chang'an", since it is both the ancient name for the present-day city of Xi'an and also means, as indicated in the above translation, "enduring prosperity".

The site of the Expo is the all-new Flowing Gardens landscape and architectural grounds that are built (one is tempted to use the term "sculpted") on the shores of – and in places extends out into – an 83-hectare lake, Lake Guangyun (see the footnote below), that is partly fed by the runoff waters of the surrounding rolling-hill landscape and partly fed by the nearby Ba and Chan Rivers. Viewing the main waterside structure of Flowing Gardens, the Theme Pavilion, from a bird's eye perspective, it is almost unavoidable not to associate it with the Sydney Opera House, though the sleek, angular lines and the myriad of reflective glass surfaces of the low-slung Theme Pavilion have little in common per se with the gentle, sailboat-like curves of the Sydney Opera House, yet both structures make an unabashedly bold statement.*(2)

Flowing Gardens is a truly unique, generally low-profile set of strategically-placed, multi-armed but unidirectional, snaking building-and-landscape structures combining earth, wind and water as well as buildings and plants. Flowing Gardens is generally very horizontally-oriented – almost flattened and stretched, in fact – except for the contrastingly vertically-oriented, classical Chinese pavilion, or tower, the 13-storey Chang'an Tower (note the significance of the name of this tower!). The sleek, aerodynamic design of the low-slung buildings deliberately facilitates the circulation of air throughout Flowing Gardens.

Moreover, the lengthwise snaking shape of Flowing Gardens – including its many lengthwise pathways – suggests a river, while the many smaller, interconnecting, curved crosswise pathways suggest sea waves (if not fish scales), both of which – the "river" and the "sea" – conjure up a marine image. The lengthwise, snaking buildings and pathways could also symbolize many freshwater streams that converge, then empty into the sea.

The bearing structure of the buildings of Flowing Gardens is the same type of welded-and-bolted tubing design that characterizes the Bird's Nest in Beijing . Flowing Gardens was designed by the London-based architectural company, Plasma Studio Architects, in collaboration with the landscape-architectural company, Groundlab, also based in London. The building project spans an area of some 420 hectares, about two-fifths of which is water. The overall physical layout of Flowing Gardens is based on the concept of "Two Circles, Two Axes, and Five Nodes".

In the following, the component parts of the gardens' overall physical layout and the gardens' subsidiary, or themed, layout as well as the expo's emblem and mascot will be presented.

Two Circles – refers to the primary and the secondary circles, the former of which contains the majority of the exhibition halls and observation platforms with their tastefully designed and decorated interconnecting corridors, while the latter houses the auxiliary facilities such as the Expo Village and the administrative facilities.

Two Axes – refers, not surprisingly, to the two directional axes of the overall layout of the gardens: the north-south oriented axis, which is the main axis; and the secondary axis, the east-west oriented axis.

Five Nodes – refers to the five parks that make up the expo: Chang'an Park, Creativity Park, Five-Continent Park, Poly-Tech Park and Experience Park.

Spanning some or all of these "Two Circles, Two Axes, and Five Nodes" are the following themed subgroupings:

The Four Main Architectural Structures (aka Landmarks):
Chang'an Tower
The Greenhouse
Theme Pavilion
Guangyun (Main) Entrance

The Five Major Horticultural Scenic Sites:
Chang'an Flower Valley
Colorful Plants From Qinling Mountains
Flowers Along the Silk Road
Overseas Collections
Flower Rainbow Over the Ba River.

The Three Architectural Theme Villages (aka Special Service Zones):
Romance by the Ba River
Southeast Asian Street
European Avenue

We recommend that you check out the expo's own website which has detailed descriptions of the various component parts of Flowing Gardens, replete with numerous helpful stylized drawings that give a true flavor of Flowing Gardens' component parts.

*(1) Guangyuntan: Guangyun ≈ "Compendium of Rhymes"... a Song (CE 960-1279) Dynasty literary reference, tan ≈ "Lake"... literally "Deep Pond".

*(2) Indeed, the Southeast Asian Street themed village, with its myriad of roofs that each represent a single shingle (all of the buildings of Southeast Asian Street are contiguous, and erected on different terrain levels, with entire roofs that overlap in the way that the individual shingles of a single roof overlap) is so suggestive of the seemingly contiguous "sailboat sails" of the Sydney Opera House as to resemble a deliberate, albeit stylized, nod to the latter.

Xian International Horticultural Expo Map

Map of Xi'an Horticultural Expo 2011



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