The USA Pavilion Is a Disgrace

POPSci Many of the pavilions at the 2010 Expo in Shanghai are phenomenal, both inside and out. The USA pavilion, however, is neither. But far worse than being visually unimpressive (which it is), the essence of our representation at the largest World's Fair carries an even sadder message.

The mind-blowing pavilions make the failings of the USA's--the world's largest economy--even more shameful.

Soon we may not even have that. This whole scheme looks like it had ZERO creativity at all...

The uninspiring saga of the United States' World Expo pavilion in Shanghai.

Despite nearly two decades of U.S. government inattention to Expos, some in the State Department and the U.S. Expo community had hopes that the United States might put on a better show in Shanghai. In November 2006, the State Department, which had taken over the role of managing U.S. participation at Expos from the USIA, published an official "request for proposal" (RFP) to design, build, and fund a U.S. pavilion in Shanghai. Among other provisions, it required a detailed plan for raising a hefty $75 million to $100 million even though most of the national pavilions at Expo 2010 cost less than $30 million and the eventual U.S. pavilion is budgeted at $61 million. Despite this high bar, several groups of designers, architects, and producers submitted detailed proposals, including a proposal that had Frank Gehry as an architect.

But the State Department rejected them all, and according to correspondence shared between the department and the last rejected proposal group, the RFP ended in late 2007 without a team in place.