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Auction of famed pavillion

entertainment Updated: Nov 03, 2010 00:50 IST
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Thousands of the clear rods that make up Britain’s award-winning pavillion at the World Expo in Shanghai will be sold on a Chinese e-commerce site to raise money for charity.

The 7.5 metre — (24 feet) long acrylic rods, which give the pavillion a dandelion-like appearance, will be cut down and sold on Taobao.com to raise money for children with cerebral palsy, a spokeswoman for the website said.

“‘Dandelion’ is the UK Pavillion’s nickname, and through Taobao, we hope this dandelion will be dispersed widely to spread British blessings, friendship and culture throughout China,” said Carma Elliot, the pavillion’s commissioner-general.

The auction proceeds will go to the Shanghai CereCare Wellness Centre, which offers physiotherapy and education to young children suffering from cerebral palsy.

British designer Thomas Heatherwick’s six-storey, quivering, cube-like structure, won the Royal Institute of British Architects’ Lubetkin Prize in June, but under Expo rules, it must be dismantled after the six-month event. The pavillion is called the ‘Seed Cathedral’ because each of its 60,000 rods contains a seed from the Royal Botanical Garden’s Millennium Seed Bank in London, which seeks to preserve plant life threatened with extinction.

Buyers will receive the end of the rod that contains the seed. In a separate statement, the pavillion said 20,000 of the rods would be donated to the Kunming Institute of Botany in southwestern China, the region where many of the seeds were originally collected.

Many rods will also be given to the Shanghai Botanical Garden to support its educational programmes, the statement added.

Another set of rods will be donated to Chinese schools along with teachers’ packs to help students learn about biodiversity. More than 70 million people, mostly Chinese, have visited the six-month Expo in Shanghai.