Dandelion building wins prestigious architecture prize

UK Pavilion at Shanghai World Expo 2010 The building has been likened to a sea urchin or giant dandelion

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A UK pavilion built for the World Expo in Shanghai has won a prestigious international architecture award.

The six-storey, cube-like structure beat buildings in Ireland and Alaska to win the Royal Institute of British Architects' Lubetkin Prize.

Designed by Thomas Heatherwick, the so-called "Seed Cathedral" is pierced by 60,000 transparent acrylic rods that each contain a seed.

RIBA president Ruth Reed called it "an outstanding emblem for Britain".

In Pictures: RIBA awards 2010

The prize is named after world-renowned architect Berthold Lubetkin, designer of the Penguin Pool at London Zoo.

The winner was presented with a concrete plaque based on that design at a ceremony at RIBA's London offices.

Almost 250 countries and international organisations are showcasing their culture at the World Expo.

Some 70 million visitors are expected to visit the event, built this year around the theme of sustainable development.

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