Netherlands Pavilion by John Kormeling
for Shanghai Expo 2010


Shanghai Expo 2010: here are some photographs of the Dutch pavilion by John Kormeling at Shanghai Expo 2010, taken by photographer Montse Zamorano.

Named Happy Street, the pavilion consists of a walkway in a figure-of-eight, supported on stilts.

Small houses extend from the sides of this walkway containing the exhibits.

The route culminates in a yellow crown-shaped hall and a restaurant modelled on an upside-down boat.

More photos by Montse Zamorano: French Pavilion by Jacques Ferrier Architectures

See all our stories about Shanghai Expo 2010 in our special category.

Here's some more information from the Expo orgainisers:

The Netherlands Pavilion, known as "Happy Street," is constructed in a figure eight – a lucky number that suggests fortune in Chinese culture. It is mainly composed of a 400-meter pedestrian street that curves in a figure of eight and 26 small houses along the street. Built completely on stilts, the street looks like a suspended roller coaster.

It is an open pavilion with a happy atmosphere. Each of the 26 distinctive small houses forms a mini pavilion that celebrates Dutch innovation in the use of space, energy and water. "Happy Street" will show that the Netherlands is innovative and progressive in the fields of sustainability, environment and urban development.

Highlight 1: Pavilion without a Gate

Visitors walking on the "Happy Street" will be surprised to find that the 400-meter long street actually has no gate or single point of entry. Instead, entrances to the pavilion can be found everywhere, allowing visitors to walk into this "Happy Street" from wherever they like. This multi-door design is quite effective and reflects the "typical Holland-style." During the evenings, colorful and glorious lighting will create a dreamland for visitors.

Highlight 2: View through Windows

Small exhibit rooms line the "Happy Street," featuring three sectors of urban life, the sectors of residence, work and industry. They collectively showcase innovations in energy, water and space. Instead of arranging these houses in a monotonous straight line, the designers have made a smart decision - "hanging" these tiny houses on the street and "inviting visitors to enjoy the exhibition through windows."

Highlight 3: Orange Eco-friendly Sunshades

About 50 sunshades are erected on the street. The orange color of the fabric symbolizes Holland. The hi-tech coating over the fabric is designed to absorb and gather energy.

Highlight 4: CINEAC Club from Amsterdam

Visitors will see a small house named "CINEAC" on the "Happy Street." In Amsterdam, CINEAC, originated from a functional cinema in 1934, is a famous club and a popular concert hall. But the CINEAC in the Netherlands Pavilion will not be a real cinema or club. It will serve as a symbol for the "Happy Street," meaning that the street offers great fun with its clubs, shops and cinemas.

Highlight 5: VIP Crown Hall

A free-standing small house in the shape of an engineering boat sits on one side of the pavilion area. This is the public restaurant in the Netherlands Pavilion. The boat-shaped restaurant is inspired by the landscape of Holland, with a part of the land beneath sea level. Another small house will follow, which is themed water preservation. Visitors can see how the water from the Huangpu River is purified and be able to drink refreshingly clean water.

See also:


X Block by Planet 3
Studios Architecture
French Pavilion by
Jacques Ferrier Architectures
All our stories about
Shanghai Expo 2010

Posted on Wednesday May 5th 2010 at 4:19 pm by Catherine Warmann. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • harem_deli9t

    Looks like it should be in disneyland with ramps that resembles roller coaster and all the whimsical looking add-ons.

  • The Dutch (actually John Körmeling) have really lost it.

    But I like the irony in this pavillion, it is not a pompous symbol of imperial power display, but rather a refined joke. I will visit it this summer next to the other pavillions at the expo but until now it is my favourite.

  • S U P E R B !

  • Fritz

    best pavilion ever (well the british is still better)!

  • gab xiao

    Learning from Las Vegas may be an ultimate indulgence for the Dutch.

    Yet a considerable drawback from what we’re used to know as Dutch Architecture. Happy Street ain’t fun…

  • slater

    I think the design team must have frequented the Red Light District in Amsterdam while coming up with this one!

  • Eddie Neale

    It is in Disneyland! What do you think an expo is!

  • mvb

    Well, this project is one of the proofs that Dutch architects try to be trendy, but in reality, they become predictable and old-fashioned.
    The emerging and fresh architecture of The Netherlands in the 90s have died. RIP.

  • m

    John Körmeling – the architect/artist of the thing – is a legend. A no-nonsense lunatic. Love it.

  • It looks as their cheerful flowers ;)

    François Beydoun

  • William

    Best pavilion ever.

  • w


  • CCC

    I is missng the sheep/benches

  • j

    and with this… the Netherlands bids farewell to an era of leading progressive design

  • jack

    Sometimes, when things are so very ugly, they become cool.

    This is not one of those times.

  • B

    dutch architecture history in a nutshell. First I didn’t, now I do like it.

  • Shengeleng

    What a statement! Such a relief compared to all the other narcissistic attractions.

  • yim

    The dutch are simply fantastic. Always unique, often groundbreaking, very forward! No risk, no reward. and they simly rule the Architectural world.. among others! Go the Dutch!

  • lala

    Its interesting that its not one solid building but all these loose elements. I do think it looks a bit messy, but I feel thats also because the railing is so “there” and its almost overtaking the design-intent…

  • Chris

    a mixture of disneyland and a suburb district in the netherlands – with a happy happy joy joy motif. but at least this pavillion is not as fancy as others..
    I want to see pictures of the Heilongjiang Pavilion or Afghanistan Pavilion

  • ZZ

    Exactly! The dutch have understood what the expo is about. This is appropriate design for the event, fantastic in its all over bad taste!

  • PETE

    I am so glad that we have moved beyond Rationalist and Hyper-Rationalist Architecture. I hope this is a decade of Ir-Rationalist Architecture!

  • m

    MVRDV’s Dutch Pavilion was on top of the new wave in 2000. Expo2010 is mostly the same tired old wave of conceptual architecture – pretentious architects trying to make dead serious jokes by tacky formalism.

    While all the big shots (UN studio among others) presented their fully worked plans for expo2010, this guy won by submitting a tacky model and a good story. He’s a joyful lunatic (check out his work), but he and Heatherwick are the only ones that actually believe in the pavilion they designed.

  • YU

    better than those boring boxes pavilions

  • luxor


  • Hieu Tran

    this is a great example of site specific architecture!

  • You get what you see: a happy street. It’s a cry for a human scale in architectural city design which suffers increasingly from pomposity and ostentation. Clever and enriching. Bravo. Bet that visitors will love it.

  • youri

    This project is a very interesting critique on the whole idea of expo. I think it is extremely ugly. I am Dutch and have worked in China. This project is also a critique on architecture.

    The easy symbolism, i.e.figure 8 of the path (number 8 is the number of luck in China), the yellow crown and all the christmas lights give an opportunity to reflect on current architecture.

    It is designed to be happy and positive like a disney ride. On the other hand it eliminates a real problem of expos and disney land because you do not have to wait to enjoy the experience.

    It is art by giving different signals / interpretation to different groups. Architects can find the critique and most visitors just enjoy the disney like feeling.

    I still love the conceptual poetry of the British best.

  • willem

    the first and only pavillion:

    john körmeling saved the xpo!

  • why i don’t see zhis building in Shanghai Expo 2010?

  • Nice Designs, special houses.

  • How happy is your street?
    Why cant I find happiness in your street in the photo?

  • JuliaJ

    I visited the Expo this week and if you think that Happy Street is like Disneyland you should see inside the Chinese Pavilion. Crazy! They’ve got animatronic dinosaurs and giant ming vases as well as more neon lights than you can shake a stick at.

    The Dutch took their brand of ironic design and humour and worked it to full effect. For those who know Dutch design it may seem very obvious but compared to some of the other national pavilions where cultural stereotypes, cliches and dumbing down abounded, it was more jazz hands than heavy-handed.

    The pavilions that worked best were those that had a simple and visual concept and message, perhaps jingoistically, I thought the UK Pavilion was definitely one of the best, if not the best, Hungary and Denmark worked well too.

  • Perigeum

    I’m Dutch and very familiar with Kormeling – Everyone should realise that Kormeling is taking a walk with the whole expo=disney idea. If you see the works he made in the past fifteen years you will realise that his ideas are often making fun of media-fication. It is specialy amazing that his concept was chosen for the expo.. we are all wonder if the jury was truly aware of the fact that this concept is making a joke of the whole idea of world-expo’s.

    so this pavillion is in every way the MOST BRILLIANT thing ever! True art can be a beautiful critique.

  • Jetwax

    Thumbs up. Great in concept and presentation. Elements openly on display. Really like d;-)

  • s

    I love the Dutch sense of humour and this is a wonderful ambassador for it. Lovely succulent happiness!

  • red light disney.

  • Max

    When The Netherlands meets The Jetsons…

  • thehackneycootfoot

    Finally a piece of commentary on built form at Expo, not just the usual vainglorious pointless waste of resources. Well done Körmeling!

  • sufi

    Netherlands pavilion provides us a occasion to imgine !I like the scheme.