The Hairy Seed Cathedral

D turned to me this morning and said, "Here's a sentence you don't hear everyday: 'As we expect buildings neither to be hairy nor in motion, these qualities give it a certain charm.'"

As it turns out, he was reading a Guardian article on the British Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo, a building which most closely resembles an extremely frightened hedgehog. (If this highly literal description has peaked your interest, click on the link to the article for a picture.) 

Despite the author's virulent skepticism of expositions in general ("All of these journalists are even grumpier than me.  They hate everything" - D.), which he expresses as a wish that "expos and world fairs would lie down and die," his description of the pavilion itself is unabashedly affectionate.  Let me leave you with this:

The hairy thing sits on an uneven plane something like crumpled paper, to symbolise, in the gushy rhetoric of expos, a just-unwrapped gift from Britain to China. [...]

A tour around the site takes visitors past a series of installations themed on the role of nature in British society, culminating in the interior of the hairy cube/dandelion/hedgehog.  Here the other ends of the wands form a glowing fuzz, and the end of each wand entraps rare seeds, 217,300 in all, from Kew Garden's Millennium Seed Bank project which aims to preserve the world's most endandered seeds.  Heatherwick [the pavilion's designer] calls this space the "seed cathedral" [...]

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