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The Great British Seed Cathedral

The UK Seed cathedral was truly awe inspiring. In my mind it’s the most innovative pavilion of the Expo.

The journey along the walkways starts with a representation of urban landscape demonstrating the British tradition of incorporating green spaces and water into its cities. Walkway 1 shows a series of ‘green maps’ which illustrate the green space in each of the four cities - Belfast, Cardiff, London and Edinburgh. The greenness of the cities is demonstrated by the erasure of all the buildings and streets leaving only the green spaces. London in particular is 40% green parkland, making it the greenest city of its size in the world. Walkway 2 represents an 'Open City', where you are met with luminous fluctuations of light spilling onto the walkway.

The Seed Cathedral is an innovative structure formed from 60,000 slender transparent rods, which extend from the structure and quiver in the breeze. During the day, each of these 7.5 metre long rods act like fibre optic filaments, drawing on daylight to illuminate the interior, thereby creating a contemplative awe-inspiring space. At night, light sources embedded in each rod cause the whole structure to glow.

Entry into the 20 metre high Seed Cathedral introduces the visitor to the UK’s leading role in conservation worldwide. The internal curved wall of glass rods is a visual representation of the Kew Millennium Seed Bank and houses the largest collection of wild plant seeds in the world. By encasing tens of thousands of seeds into the ends of the transparent rods, visitors can view examples of plant species that contribute to global conservation programmes.

The Living City on the final walkway comprises a ‘plant river’ that spills out from an enormous crack in the canopy, with plant life bursting through, into the walkway. It is a showcase for a rich variety of living plants and imaginary future plants. Visitors are encouraged to look closely to see which are real and which are modelled.

The Open Landscape is intended to resemble the ‘paper’ that once wrapped the building and now lies unfolded on the site. This landscape provides an open space for public events as well as allowing visitors to wander aimlessly, sit, relax and admire the amazing sculpture.