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BEING BECOMING Pavilions from EXPO 2015 Milan, vol.1 Pygmalion Karatzas Pygmalion Karatzas 1

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BEING BECOMING Pavilions from EXPO 2015 Milan, vol.1

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Introduction The Universal Expositions are organised by the Bureau Internacional de Exposiciones (BIE), taking place every five years over six months during which cultural, social and economic exchanges between countries, institutions, international bodies, NGO’s and companies are strengthened. They have an on-going tradition of 160 years. World EXPOs are regarded as the Olympics in the areas of economy, culture, science and technology. Early events date back in 1851 (London) with the last EXPO in Shanghai in 2010 reaching 73 million visitors. Popular inventions presented in past EXPOs include: the photograph (1878 Paris), the ferris wheel (1893 Chicago), the X-ray machine (1901 Buffalo), electricity (1904 St. Louis), the television set (1939 New York), the mobile phone (1970 Osaka). According to the Protocol of BIE, a world exposition “is an event which, regardless of its name, has a primary purpose of public education, making an inventory of means available to people in order to meet the needs of the civilisation and highlighting current progress or future prospects within one or more areas of human activity”. The theme of the Expo 2015 in Milan is ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’. This embraces technology, innovation, culture, traditions, and creativity and how they relate to food and diet. Within this broad theme, seven subthemes were proposed: 1. Science for food safety, security and quality, 2. Innovation in the agro food supply chain, 3. Technology for agriculture and biodiversity, 4. Dietary education, 5. Solidarity and cooperation on Food, 6. Food and better lifestyles, 7. Food in the world’s cultures and ethnic groups. All participating countries were asked to address the problems and opportunities opening up for the agriculture sector in the fields of sustainable development, common well-being and the fight against hunger. This six-months global showcase of more than 140 participating countries is estimated to attract 20 million visitors to its 1.1 million sq.m. of exhibition areas and 7,000 events. The site is located near the RHO PERO area, 9 km. north-west of the city centre. An investment of more than 4 billion Euros was estimated for the project (which run up to 13 billion eventually), that, in 5 years will give job to 40,000 people and the participation of 36,000 volunteers. Milanese architect and planner Stefano Boeri was originally responsible for coordinating the Expo masterplan. He assembled a team: with Swiss Pritzker Prize recipients Herzog & de Meuron, Rickard Burdett (London Olympics’ chief adviser on architecture and urbanism), William McDonough (who formulated the ‘Hannover Principles’ for the Hanover Expo in 2000 based on his ‘Cradle to Cradle’ design for sustainability theory), and the Spanish architect and planner Joan Busquets (responsible for much of the good that resulted from the Barcelona Olympics in 1992). The development of the Expo plan can be broadly divided into three phases: the initial plan, the concept plan (by Stefano Boeri and his team), and the masterplan (that was submitted and approved by BIE on April 30, 2010). In 2011, the initial planning team of the conceptual masterplan left the project because they felt the plan was being implemented only as an urbanistic and formal pattern, not as an intellectual concept which would have “elided the usual vanity fair of competitive national pride seen at part Expos”. The initial concept was further developed by a group of young architects recently graduated from the Polytechnic University of Milan. In the final plan the idea of providing equal amounts of space for each exhibiting country is abandoned, and instead each has the opportunity to rent areas ranging from 400 to 6,000 sq.m. The buildable areas are reduced to 30% of the area assigned to each exhibitor. The site planning is developed along two major thoroughfares based on the structures of Roman cities: the exhibition spaces of the countries (54 independent self-built pavilions and 9 thematic clusters) are laid out along the 1.5 km of the Decumano (stretching along the East-West axis) - which is meant to be reminiscent of a long dinner table with all countries having an equal front to the main boulevard– and Italy’s exhibition area is along the 350 m. of the Cardo, with municipalities, provinces and regions represented in the Palazzo Italia, stretching along the North-South axis. Conceived as an island, the site is surrounded by a canal of approx. 4.5 km. At the intersection of the two axes is the Piazza Italia and at the four endpoints we find: on the east the Mediterranean Hill (created from the excavation soil of the construction works), on the west the Expo Centre (housing the EXPO’s headquarters and the Media Centre), on the south the Open Air Theatre, and on the north the Lake Area with the landmark of the EXPO – the Tree of Life (the last two being the main event areas of the site). Pygmalion Karatzas 5

For the first time in the history of the Universal Exhibitions, the host country is not represented solely by one building, although Palazzo Italia is still the largest of all the countries’ pavilions, but instead extends along the 350 m. of the Cardo axis, covering the whole area from Lake Arena (on the north side) and the piazza Italia (the intersection between Decumano and Cardo). The main building tells the story of the ‘Nursery Garden of Italy’, a concept developed by Artistic Director Marco Balich and interpreted architecturally by Nemesi & Partners as an urban forest. The route along the Cardo is conceptually organised in four parts and is overall a representation of a model Italian village, alternating between recessed areas, little piazzas, terraces and buildings. In honour of the European Union, the organisers have given an independent pavilion to the EU opposite the Italian Pavilion. In addition to the independent pavilions EXPO Milan introduced the thematic clusters to house the countries that for various reasons decided not to create their own pavilion. They are communal exhibition spaces placed in various parts of the site and enable the participants to represent their history and culture through the agricultural and food tradition most typical of their country. Some clusters present timeless products – rice, coffee, spices, cocoa and chocolate, fruits and legumes, cereals and tubers – while others are grouped according to territory themes – biomediterranean, islands & sea, arid zones. The Clusters are the result of an International workshop comprising 18 Universities from around the world, 40 professors, 46 tutors and 127 students. Along the site 10 service buildings are also situated with cafes, restaurants, WCs and assistance. The Expo also hosts thematic areas – uniquely designed exhibitions that explore and interpret the theme of the Expo to involve, transmit knowledge and emotions to the visitors: Pavilion Zero, Biodiversity Park, Slow Food Pavilion, Children’s Park, Future Food District (in partnership with Coop), Arts & Foods (outside the Expo site at the Triennale di Milano). It also includes non-official participants (civil society organisations and firms developing projects of interest in connection to the theme of the Expo): Cascina Triulza, Amity University of India, Caritas International, Don Bosco Network, KIP International School, Save the Children International Italia, World Association of Argonomists and CONAF, World Expo Museum, corporate (China Corporate United, Coca Cola, Federalimente, Vanke), partners (Alitalia/Etihad, Enel, Ferrero, Intesa Sanpaolo, New Holland Agriculture). In his essay about the history of World Fairs, ‘Belief in the Future’, Aldo Castellano notes “The most significant change (in the basic nature of these trade fairs) is perhaps in the spirit of competition between individual exhibitors from participating countries.” In the early days of modernity, competition was considered a positive and effective way of encouraging the production of quality products. Although, in the following decades studies by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on food quality and agricultural surpluses, have demonstrated the degredation of current food production practices and the need to move beyond the competitive paradigm. World Expositions are about many things: showcasing and exchanging ideas in innovation and technology, networking and outreaching among countries and organisations, a celebration of cultures and traditions, an opportunity to reflect upon our state of being and becoming. As with everything else in life, the initial concepts are charged with lofty goals and as time passes, the become not less or more but simply a mirror, a condensed microcosmos mirroring our collective reality. The visit took place between the 5th and 14th of May. Acknowledgements I would like to thank The Danish Architecture Centre for supporting this project, Jakob Hybel for his editorial help, Giordana Zagami from HK Strategies for providing additional information, Paola Di Marzo and Massimiliano at the Italian Pavilion press office, Roberta Riccio at the Swiss Pavilion press office, Elena Pagano at the German Pavilion press office, Fulvia Zimmitti for the hospitality, and Panos Bazos for his invaluable and continuous support. Pygmalion Karatzas Architectural and fine art photographer B.Sc. Architecture M.Sc. Urban Design

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1. ITALY PAVILION. Nemesi & Partners

2. UNITED KINGDOM PAVILION. Wolfgang Buttress and Tristan Simmonds


4. GERMANY PAVILION. Schmidhuber architecture

5. CHINA PAVILION. Studio Link-Arc and Tsinghua University

6. BRAZIL PAVILION. Studio Arthur Casas / Atelier Marko Brajovic

7. BAHRAIN PAVILION. Anne Holtrop & Anouk Vogel

8. FRANCE PAVILION. XTU Architects / Studio A. Rispal / CMC / ALN Atelien

9. SPAIN PAVILION. B720 Architects

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10. AUSTRIA PAVILION. Team Breathe Austria and Klaus Loenhart

11. BELGIUM PAVILION. Patrick Genard & Marc Belderbos

12. SLOVENIA PAVILION. SoNo Architects

13. POLISH PAVILION. 2pm Architects


15. ENEL PAVILION. Piuarch


17. COPAGRI PAVILION. Miralles Tagliabue EMBT

18. SLOW FOOD PAVILION. Herzog & de Meuron

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World EXPO 2015, Milan Italy

ITALY PAVILION Nemesi Studio architects

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The design chosen for the Italy Pavilion is the result of an international design competition awarded by Expo 2015 SpA in May, 2013; among 68 participants Nemesi won the competition with Proger and BMS for the engineering and with Prof. Eng. Livio De Santoli for the sustainability. The Italy Pavilion consists of the permanent building Palazzo Italia (6 levels, built area 14,398 sqm) and the temporary buildings along the Cardo (2 levels, built area: 12,551 sqm). Palazzo Italia reaches a height of 35 meters, the highest peak within the Expo site. It’s the only permanently architecture at the Expo. Palazzo Italia will host institutional spaces in addition to the excellences of “Made in Italy”, while the Cardo temporary buildings will be representative of the Italian territory, in particular of the regions, and include a pavilion for the European Union placed in front of Palazzo Italia. Palazzo Italia, permanent building 60X60X34 mt (including branched façade and sail covering), includes: exhibition spaces, auditorium, delegations spaces, offices, events spaces,  meeting spaces, restaurant. The Cardo temporary buildings contain: exhibition spaces, events spaces, offices, restaurant spaces and terraces events. Palazzo Italia is considered an architectural and constructive challenge for the complexity and innovation in design, materials and technologies used. The building is designed in a sustainable  way thanks to the contribution of photovoltaic glass in the roof and the photocatalytic properties of the new concrete for the branched facade. 2,000 tons of i.active Biodynamic concrete over 700 branched panels all differents 4,000 sqm of sail covering - 400 tons of steel. Because of its architecture and its location, Palazzo Italia is a Landmark within the Expo site: located to the north, it is the scenic backdrop for Cardo avenue  which runs right across the site. For Nemesi, the spark for Palazzo Italia was a concept of cohesion in which the force of attraction generates a rediscovered sense of community and belonging. The internal piazza represents the community’s energy. This space - the symbolic heart of the complex - is the starting point for the exhibition route, in the midst of the four volumes that make up Palazzo Italia. Palazzo Italia draws on the concept of an “urban forest” with the branched outer envelope designed by Nemesi. For the design of this “skin” Nemesi has created a unique and original geometric texture that evokes the intertwining random branches. The full external façade of Palazzo Italia will be clad in over 700 i.active BIODYNAMIC panels realized by Styl-Comp with Italcementi’s patented TX Active technology. When this material comes into contact with light, it can “capture” pollution in the air, transforming it into inert salts and reducing smog levels. The roof designed by Nemesi for Palazzo Italia is an innovative “sail” realized by Stahlbau Pichler. It’s an interpretation of a forest canopy, with photovoltaic glass and flat and curved geometric shapes (often squares). Together with the building’s envelope of branches, it will be a manifest expression of innovation in design and technology. The roof reaches its architectural height above the inner piazza, where a massive glazed conical skylight “hangs” over the square and the central steps, radiating natural light. [text by the architects]

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World EXPO 2015, Milan Italy

UNITED KINGDOM PAVILION Wolfgang Buttress and Tristan Simmonds

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Under the title ‘Grown in Britain & Northern Ireland’, the UK’s response to the Milan Expo’s theme ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’ is a 1,910 square metre Pavilion boasting an impressive design and complex structure, successfully delivered by creative construction and manufacturing company Stage One. Award-winning British talent has been selected by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) to conceive and build the Pavilion for the World Expo 2015 opening in Milan on the 1st of May. It is developed around the concept of the beehive and how new research and technology are helping to address food security and biodiversity. Designed by Nottingham-based artist Wolfgang Buttress in collaboration with engineer Tristan Simmonds and Manchester-based architectural practice BDP, the immersive Pavilion has been entirely manufactured and constructed by York-based firm Stage One. Appointed as main contractor by UKTI before the design competition was awarded, Stage One was involved in the selection of the winning design, advising the judging panel on the feasibility of the shortlisted schemes. Visitors to the Pavilion follow the dance of a bee, travelling through a series of landscapes. The experience starts with a journey through an orchard, followed by a wildflower meadow and on to an impressive centrepiece: The Hive, a 14m-cubed sculptural element that uses light and sound to simulate the activity of a real beehive. Machined and fabricated at Stage One’s factory just outside York, the Hive is constructed from 169,300 individual aluminium components. Assembled in 32 horizontal layers, the structure comprises three main components: chords, rods and nodes. The concentric zig-zag shaped chords form the main body of the hive and are connected to rods measuring up to onemetre long. Semi- circular nodes located at the intersections of the overlapping chords provide connection points for the rods. Fundamental to the Hive concept is the spherical void in the centre of the Hive, which allows people to walk inside and experience the sensory representation of the bees’ activity. The LED light fittings, embedded into the aluminium node components, glow and pulsate to represent the activity captured via an accelerometer within a real beehive located almost a thousand miles away in Nottingham. Adam Wildi, Senior Project Director at Stage One, said: “Being appointed as Main Contractor for the UK Pavilion at Milan Expo 2105 was real validation for Stage One as a significant player in the field of complex demountable architecture. Our client UKT&I was particularly enlightened and allowed us to manage the project in an efficient and controlled manner. There have been challenges in terms of sheer volume of Hive components and a very compressed programme. Nevertheless, we are delighted to have created an astonishing pavilion in time for the opening of Expo on 1st of May.” The intricate structure and the logistical complexities overcome by the project’s team demonstrate Stage One’s expertise in delivering installations and pavilions for architectural, artistic and entertainment events, such as Olympic Games Ceremonies and every Serpentine Gallery Pavilion since 2009. [text by the architects, source: archdaily.com]

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World EXPO 2015, Milan Italy


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The United Arab Emirates pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo opened today. Bringing the planning principles of the traditional desert city to Milan, the pavilion’s interior of self-shaded streets evokes the experience of the UAE’s ancient communities, while demonstrating the natural energy efficiency of their compact urban form. The pavilion occupies a large site close to the centre of the Expo and is accessed via its main circulation axis, the decumanus. From here, visitors are drawn into the mouth of a canyon-like space, defined by two undulating 12- metre-high walls. Influenced by ancient planning principles, the paths through the pavilion are suggestive of the narrow pedestrian streets and courtyards of the ancient desert city – and its contemporary reinterpretation in the sustainable Masdar City masterplan in Abu Dhabi, designed by Foster + Partners. The walls continue throughout the 140 metre site in a series of parallel waves, unifying the visitor spaces within a dynamic formal language designed to express the ridges and texture of sand dunes. To convey a distinctive sense of place, the texture of the walls derives from a scan taken in the desert. The GRC (Glassfibre Reinforced Concrete) panels are supported by a steel frame, which can be easily demounted and reconstructed for the pavilion’s eventual relocation in the UAE. A ramp leads gently upwards from the entrance towards the auditorium, and augmented reality devices help to bring the story of the Emirates to life. The state-of-the-art auditorium is contained within a drum at the heart of the site. After the screening, visitors follow a path through further interactive displays and digital talks, including a special exhibit celebrating Dubai as host city for the 2020 Expo. At the end of the exhibition trail visitors reach a green oasis. The landscaping around the pavilion and in the open public areas is designed to evoke the terrain and flora of the UAE. The design follows the principles of LEED with a combination of passive and active techniques. Most significantly, the building is designed to be recycled and rebuilt in the UAE after the Expo. In creating the pavilion, Foster + Partners has worked closely with The National Media Council, United Arab Emirates, Chairman, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Commissioner General Salem Al Ameri. Norman Foster: “We are very proud to be chosen to create the national pavilion for the United Arab Emirates. Our challenge has been to design for two climates – to create a naturally cool, comfortable space for visitors in Milan, while considering the pavilion’s ultimate reconstruction in the Emirates, where there is a need to provide shade from the intense sun. The design reflects our investigations into the form of ancient cities and our appreciation for the desert landscape. It also maximises the opportunities presented by the elongated site – the dramatic canyon-like entrance welcomes people inside, and the channels between the high walls provide intuitive circulation, naturally leading visitors to the auditorium, exhibition and courtyard spaces.” [text by the architects, source: archdaily.com]

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World EXPO 2015, Milan Italy

GERMANY PAVILION Schmidhuber architects

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“Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” is the theme for Expo 2015. The German pavilion clearly orients itself to this leitmotif – under the “Fields of Ideas” motto. Germany reveals itself as a vibrant, fertile “landscape” filled with ideas on future human nutrition. The pavilion vividly illustrates just how important dealing respectfully with nature is to our ongoing food supply, while inviting visitors to take action themselves. Visitors can discover the “Fields of Ideas” along two different routes. They can either stroll along the pavilion’s freely accessible upper level, which invites them to relax and enjoy. Or they can explore the exhibition inside the pavilion, which addresses such topics as the sources of nutrition, through to food production and consumption in the urban world. The central design element of the pavilion are expressive membrane-covered shelters in the shape of sprouting plants: the “Idea Seedlings.” Their construction and bionic design vocabulary are inspired by nature. The Idea Seedlings link the interior and exterior spaces, a blend of architecture and exhibition, and at the same time provide shade for visitors in the hot Italian summer. By integrating cutting-edge organic photovoltaic (OPV) technology, the seedlings become Solar Trees. The German Pavilion is the first large international architecture project to use these innovative new products. In contrast with a project using conventional solar modules, the German Pavilion architects had the opportunity to do more than just incorporate existing technology. They had free rein to design the flexible, OPV membrane modules to match their own creative ideas, and to integrate them into the overall design of the pavilion. [text by the architects, source: archdaily.com]

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World EXPO 2015, Milan Italy

CHINA PAVILION Studio Link-Arc and Tsinghua University

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Rejecting the typical notion of a cultural pavilion as an object in a plaza, the China Pavilion is instead conceived as a field of spaces. Envisioned as a cloud hovering over a “land of hope”, the Pavilion is experienced as a series of public programs located beneath a floating roof, the unique design of which creates an iconic image for the project and a unique presence within the Expo grounds. The theme for the China Pavilion is “The Land of Hope”. The project embodies this through its undulating roof form, derived by merging the profile of a city skyline on the building’s north side with the profile of a landscape on the south side, expressing the idea that “hope” can be realized when city and nature exist in harmony. Conceived as a timber structure that references the “raised-beam” system found in traditional Chinese architecture, the Pavilion roof also uses modern technology to create long spans appropriate to the building’s public nature. The roof is covered in shingled panels that reference traditional pottery roof construction, but are reinterpreted as large bamboo leaves that enhance the roof profile while shading the public spaces below. Designed as layered screens, these panels add texture and depth to the Pavilion’s roof and create evocative light and transparency effects below. Beneath the roof, the building’s ground plane is defined by a landscape of wheat (the “land of hope”) that references China’s agrarian past. This natural landscape transitions seamlessly into an LED multimedia installation in the center that forms the centerpiece of the building’s exhibition program. The Pavilion’s full exhibition and cultural offerings are experienced as a sequence of spaces, beginning with an exterior waiting area in the landscape, leading to a themed exhibition space with interactive installations and cultural offerings from different Chinese provinces. After this, visitors are guided up a gently sloped public stair to a panoramic viewing platform above the multimedia installation, after which they are guided into a multimedia space featuring a short film focusing on family reunions during China’s annual Spring Festival. This sequence concludes with visitors stepping outside the building onto a platform above the bamboo roof that enjoys expansive views of the Expo grounds. [text by the architects, source: archdaily.com]

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World EXPO 2015, Milan Italy

BRAZIL PAVILION Studio Arthur Casas and Atelier Marko Brajovic

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Studio Arthur Casas and Atelier Marko Brajovic won the competition to create the Brazilian Pavilion for Expo Milan 2015, commissioned by APEXBrasil. We aimed to combine architecture and scenography in order to provide visitors with an experience that would transmit Brazilian values and the aspirations of its agriculture and livestock farming according to the theme “Feeding the world with solutions”. More than a temporary building, the sensorial immersion includes leisure, high technology information, interaction and learning. The inspiring idea of a flexible, smooth and decentralized network is present in every aspect of the building and represents the country’s pluralism. Amidst more than 130 constructions, the Brazilian Pavilion proposes a pause, the intention of creating a public square that draws people together and engenders curiosity. As porous as the Brazilian culture, a large volume is open to visitors and establishes a pathway among several plant species cultivated in our country. The earthly colors of the metal structure highlight this “Brazilianess” and the gradual transition between inside and outside erase the boundaries dividing architecture and scenography. The metaphor of the net is materialized by a tensile structure that creates unexpected places for leisure and rest. Following the tradition of Brazilian modernism and its pavilions, large runways reinforce the connection between the different spaces. Different themes inspired the clusters distributed along the ground floor of the pavilion. They are organized according to ideas such as nutrition, family agriculture, forestry and integration between farming and livestock. Box containing plants were organized according an orthogonal grid, creating sinuous paths, inspired by the curves of the Amazon River. This Cartesian grid plays with organic landscapes, in a game of superposition and dialogue between the hand of man and the forces of nature. While walking through this path, visitors will find interactive tables and see how the net takes part in this fluid demarcation between themes. The volume placed in the rear of the plot houses exhibition spaces, an auditorium, a pop-up store, a café, a lounge, a restaurant and office facilities, interconnected by a large atrium that brings in natural light. Brazilian artists and designers were invited to exhibit works that showcase our inventiveness, side by side with interactive installations that explain the technical revolution in course in Brazilian food industry, largely due to the research of companies such as EMBRAPA. Sustainability is everywhere, from the construction/deconstruction system made up with prefabricated modules, to the water reuse mechanisms and the employment of certified and recyclable materials. A fundamental part of the experience, the rationality of this ephemeral architecture demonstrates that it is possible to create meaning and content with few resources and low environmental impact. The Brazilian pavilion in Expo Milan 2015 aims to bring new elements to the traditional attendance of the country to this type of event. Looking at the future, it aims to demonstrate that Brazil achieved excellence in crucial areas for mankind, such as agriculture and livestock farming, in a permanent movement to create new paradigms for the way our society relates to the environment, a symbiotic transformation, capable of tracing new strategies for our country. More than trying to stand out among so many nations, the Brazilian pavilion translates the desire for inspiring curiosity towards our territory and people to engender new relations that take place beyond the period of the event. It should demonstrate that it is possible to transform into reality utopian ideas and to inspire solutions that follow the Expo theme: Feeding the planet, energy for life. [text by the architects, source: archdaily.com]

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World EXPO 2015, Milan Italy

BAHRAIN PAVILION Studio Anne Holtrop and Anouk Vogel

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Archaeologies of Green, the pavilion of the Kingdom of Bahrain, at the Expo Milano 2015 is a poetic interpretation of the cultural agrarian heritage of the country, which stems from the ancient civilization of Dilmun. The winning design for the pavilion designed by Studio Anne Holtrop in collaboration with landscape architect Anouk Vogel, was selected amongst four other design proposal that were presented as part of an invited competition. With ten distinctive fruit gardens, containing trees that will be fruit–bearing at different moments throughout the six-month duration of the exhibition, the pavilion also features archaeological artifacts that celebrate the millennia long tradition of agriculture and perpetuate the many myths of Bahrain as the location of the Garden of Eden and the land of the million palm trees. Built out of white prefabricated concrete panels, the pavilion will be moved to Bahrain at the end of the Expo and once rebuilt will serve as a botanical garden. The prefabricated components of the buildings, visible through the seams that connect them to one another, loosely refer to the inherent and distinguished forms of the archaeology of Bahrain. [text by the architects, source: archdaily.com]

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World EXPO 2015, Milan Italy

FRANCE PAVILION XTU architects / Studio A. Rispal / CMC / ALN Atelier

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Envisioned as a covered market built from locally sourced reusable wood, france’s pavilion for expo milan 2015 is centered around the theme of ‘producing and nurturing in another way’. Designed by XTU architects, the 3,600 square meter structure utilizes lightweight construction methods that ensure that the pavilion can be disassembled and reused after the exposition. Throughout the scheme, particular attention has been given to reducing energy consumption, waste recycling and water purification. Vegetation grows organically throughout the latticed structure, with a range of herbs and hops actively contributing towards the visitors experience of the fertile marketplace. This hub of activity at the ground floor culminates in a restaurant at the upper level of the design where the fresh produce is cooked and served to guests attending the expo. Additional programs include a small boutique offering all the variety and quality of french food, while a demonstration zone gives a practical and hands-on exhibition of french cooking. Taking into account that there will be an estimated 9 billion people living on earth by 2050, the project seeks to find solutions for self-sufficiency, considering different production methods that result in better nourishment. The design is conceived as a place of exchange, but also of creation, imagined as a metaphor for a physical territory where new perspectives on food and nutrition can grow and manifest, positively influencing the future of the planet. [text by the architects, source: designboom.com, editor: Philip Stevens]

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World EXPO 2015, Milan Italy

SPAIN PAVILION B720 Architects

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Barcelona’s b720 arquitectos has designed a greenhouse-inspired pavilion to represent Spain at the 2015 Milan Expo. Representing a “fusion” of Spain’s gastronomic tradition and innovation, the portico-like structure will be divided into two halves and united by a repetitious form. On one side, the “shed-shaped” structure’s timber frame will represent the country’s gastronomic tradition. A series of outdoor spaces will be punctuated by program clothed in materials made from wine bottle corks, barrels and esparto grass fabric (used for pressing olive oil). While it’s other side, an enclosed space clad in stainless steel and rendered with colors reminiscent of Spain’s most recognizable products will represent the country’s gastronomic innovation. “The Spanish gastronomy reputation, based on the balanced combination of tradition and innovation, makes it a global reference on international markets. This fact has a relevant role on the generation of the pavilion, creating two separated areas - and applying different tectonics to them - according to this duality,” described the architects. Spanish-like spaces highlighted include a barrier-free ground floor, orange groove courtyard and second story terrace of vegetable gardens, as well as a hydroponic canopy sheltering a restaurant and auditoria.  Made from recycled and natural materials, the “environmentally friendly pavilion” will be “constructed by a 1.50m series of laminated timber porticos, fastened by a sequence of uneven prismatic volumes made from CL timber. In between these porticos, light polycarbonate panels acting as canopies that protect from climate the outdoor areas underneath them.” “To promote natural ventilation, fixed roof shutters are located to evacuate heat at high levels, in a similar mechanism to those used in greenhouses,” added the architect. “The depth and distance between porticos are calculated to provide a comfortable degree of shadow to the semi-external areas below, resulting in a major reduction of energy consumption in comparison to traditionally enclosed areas. All the construction process is based in dry assembling, easy to mount, dismount and recycle.” The pavilion’s contents will focus on three subjects: Explaining key issues that have led to Spain’s gastronomic success; the balance between creativity and innovation to preserve traditional, healthy Mediterranean food; and using a sustainable agriculture and livestock production as a tool for preserving the landscape, heritage and the development of alternative tourism models.  [text by Karissa Rosenfield, source: archdaily.com]

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World EXPO 2015, Milan Italy

AUSTRIA PAVILION Team Breathe Austria and Klaus Loenhart

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Air as food and a catalyst for urban practices. In response to the theme of this year’s Milan EXPO, “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”, the Austrian contribution breathe.austria draws our attention to an essential nutrient and one of our most precious resources: air. As fundamental components of the biosphere, air, climate and the atmosphere unite all living creatures on our planet. As such, air is both a source of sustenance and a natural asset. At breathe.austria the pavilion itself is the exhibition. It functions as a prototype to address possible future interaction between the natural environment and urban strategies by demonstrating the potential of hybrid systems that integrate nature AND technology. The central element is a dense Austrian forest brought together with technical elements in order to create a breathing microclimate. With this oxygen- and carbon-producing core, the pavilion becomes an “air generating station” – and the only building on the entire EXPO site to withstand the hot Milanese summer without conventional air conditioning. For the project designers, such combinations of natural and technological systems will initiate a paradigm shift in the future. The pavilion was developed by the interdisciplinary project group team. breathe.austria under the direction of architect, landscape architect and university professor Klaus Loenhart. Natural performance and integral technology. The pavilion’s entire floor area is densely planted with 12 Austrian forest ecotypes, ranging from mosses and shrubs to towering, 12-metre trees. In a natural, water-rich forest, cooling occurs through evapotranspiration, meaning the evaporation of water from flora and fauna as well as from the soil and water surface. At breathe.austria, however, the evaporative cooling process is technically augmented. While the pavilion surface area is only 560 m2, thermodynamic high- pressure misting nozzles are used to activate the total evaporation surface of the pavilion vegetation, amounting to around 43,000 m2. Despite the spatial constraints, breathe.austria succeeds in creating a unique climate zone within the pavilion: a pleasantly cool, fresh atmosphere that invites guests to linger. The effective interplay between nature and technology cools the interior space by 5 to 7° C and supplants conventional air conditioning. The pavilion produces 62.5 kg/h of oxygen – enough for 1,800 visitors. On its surface area of 560 m2, breathe.austria achieves the equivalent of a much larger, 3-hectare natural forest. The pavilion serves as a breathing “photosynthesis collector” that contributes to global oxygen production. The contribution breathe.austria is a model for future urban practices. It demonstrates the great potential and importance of communicating the interaction of technology and natural environments, which can inspire countless other projects. The Austrian pavilion is a sensual, experiential site that connects the seemingly irreconcilable – technology and natural diversity – while being climatically active. Austria provides a living example of hybrid systems combining nature and technology can lead to ecological success. [text by the architects, source: archdaily.com]

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World EXPO 2015, Milan Italy

BELGIUM PAVILION Patrick Genard / Marc Belderbos

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The architecture firm  Patrick Genard y Asociados / Marc Belderbos, in conjunction with the office Besix - Vanhout, has been selected to build the Belgian pavilion for the Milan 2015 Universal Exposition. In November of 2013, the “General Commission of the Belgian Government for Expo Milan 2015” organized a competition for the design of the Belgian pavilion for the Milan 2015 Universal Exposition under the motto “Feed the Planet, Energy for Life”. Among all the participants, five finalist teams were selected that presented their design proposals for the pavilion. After careful deliberation, the Commission awarded as winner the project of architect Patrick Genard for its architectural, esthetic and innovative value as well as its technological contributions, its exhibit design, its sustainable approach, and its technical qualities and efficiency.   The Expo will take place in Milan, Italy from May 1 to October 31, 2015 on a 170.000 m2 site. Nearly 150 countries will participate and it is estimated that more than twenty million people from around the world will visit the Expo.  The project for the Belgian pavilion for the Milan Expo 2015 is a result of three great axes of reflection: the theme of the exposition “Feeding the Planet, energy for Life” environmental sustainability and innovative technology and finally a showcase. The Concept Balance between man and nature, food production and consumption, is the inspiration for Belgium’s 2,717-square meter pavilion. For centuries, food production has been one of Mankind’s activities, shaping the world we live in today, and influencing people and certain parts of society. On the other hand, food consumption has been strongly linked to human activity and nature, its habits, deeply rooted in the culture and religion of a society and reflecting people’s lifestyles. Globally, they also have a strong impact on nature, politics, society and landscape. At Expo Milano 2015 Belgium looks to present the innovations, technologies and best practices that allow it to produce food in a responsible way, and to educate people to be responsible consumers. It will showcase and share a range of scientific and technological competences in the research and development of food and energy, stimulating a conversation on achieving the right balance between man and nature.  [text by the architects, source: archilovers.com]

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World EXPO 2015, Milan Italy


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The common thread in the exhibition manifests itself through a series of interactive and architectural elements throughout the pavilion. As the architects describe, “Five prismatical structures, positioned on the geometrically and dynamically designed surface, whose shape is reminiscent of a cultivated field, will represent Slovenian diverse geographical landscape and symbolize fundamental ideas of sustainable development.� Constructed using natural materials, such as timber and glass, the pavilion contains a wide range of exhibition spaces that seek to demonstrate the country’s varied foods grown in its 24 gastronomical regions. Reflecting the plentiful lush forests that define the slovenian landscape, the wooden structure features large internal green walls that create an absorbing environment for visitors to explore. [text by the architects, sources: archdaily.com and designboom.com]

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World EXPO 2015, Milan Italy

POLISH PAVILION 2pm Architects

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The idea behind the project for the Polish Pavilion at EXPO 2015 in Milan refers to Polish orchards and horticulture, very significant to the Polish landscape and economy. It is being realized through the use of a motif of a wooden apple box, normally used in shipment as a packaging for fruits and vegetables. The idea is executed on two levels. In the micro scale through the use of the pavilion’s modular, openwork outside wall, visually referring to the aforementioned apple boxes, and in the macro scale by conveying the pavilion’s idea as a form of packaging for the presentation of Poland’s agriculture. The pavilion’s layout leads visitors through a symbolic ‘secret’ garden, hidden behind an openwork ‘box-like’ structure. The garden itself consists of endless rows of apple trees, very characteristic to the Polish landscape. The image isn’t given to the visitors at once. In order to understand it, a person needs to make their way down a long and winding road. The contrast between the entrance, the crevice’s narrow and tall space, and the garden’s horizontal and endless space is the essence of the feeling the pavilion is supposed to evoke in its visitors. The illusion of the garden’s expanse and endlessness is created by the use of mirrors, elements made from polished, chrome-plated metal, which the entire inner wall is covered with in order to multiply the reflections in every possible direction. It creates a place full of light, freedom, and space. It resembles an Italian ‘piazza’, a square around which the lives of Italian cities are concentrated, here, quite surprisingly, ‘thrown’ into the centre of a Mazovian apple orchard. The design team states that in this area it will be possible to organize various events as a part of the exhibition. What is worth noting is that, thanks to the square’s abstract background, each event should be distinctive and memorable. The message to the recipient is centred upon the Polish agriculture and its economic success. Apart from the real stroll, the exhibition offers a virtual walk as well during which the recipients will be able to learn more about the Polish agriculture as well as familiarize themselves with the Polish landscape. Through the use of tablets, visitors will be able to gain additional info by reading various elements of the exhibition, strewn across the ‘garden’ and marked with QR codes. They will be also able to take a virtual stroll while resting in the shade of one of the numerous apple trees. [text by the architects, source: archdaily.com]

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World EXPO 2015 Milan, Italy

CARITAS PAVILION Piuarch Architects

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Designed for the Expo 2015 area in Milan, the Caritas Pavilion is based around the message: “Divide to multiply. Break the bread” or, in other words, the idea of sharing wealth. The Edicola, this is the name of the small pavilion, has the appearance of a fragmented cube that translates into architectural terms the idea of crating wealth by sharing. The structure has been designed keeping simplicity at the core of its composition and the unadorned nature of its appearance. The project is divided into 5 structures that are similar to each other but of different sizes and designed for different purposes. They are positioned on the ground and joined by vertices, a reference to the Edicola’s typical square floor plan. The uniformity of the construction is provided by its structural profile characterized by the same external dimensions, colour and materials. Thanks to its extremely simple structure, the Edicola is truly eco-sustainable. Externally, It is made of plastic pretensioned mesh that lets the air flow through without any need for air conditioning and lets in natural light which helps keep energy use to a minimum. Moreover, the structure has been designed ensuring that it can be efficiently dismantled and reassembled elsewhere. Thanks to its shape, structure and dimension, it can be used as a school, a counseling centre for the disadvantaged or a centre from which to provide basic life support to the needy. The plot occupied by Caritas, placed in a strategic position along the Decumano of the Expo 2015 site, presents a number of different features: a 200 sqm outdoor paved area that greets visitors, a 150 sqm covered area divided into different rooms and a 550 sqm green area. It is not just a place but 5 situations, 5 experiences that helped visitors relate to the theme “divide to multiply” and the Caritas world. Visitors moved through the five “rooms” overlooking one single central area. An artwork entitled Energia, designed by the German artist Wolf Vostell in 1973, was the main attraction in this space. Energia is a large installation with great narrative force constructed out of a Cadillac loaded with war weapons surrounded by different kinds of bread. This powerful critique of consumer society comes from the contrast between symbols of consumerism and destruction and man’s primary need, bread. [text by the architects, source: archdaily.com]

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World EXPO 2015 Milan, Italy

ENEL PAVILION Piuarch Architects

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The Concept In designing the ENEL Pavilion for Expo 2015, Piuarch wanted to express the concept of “energy sharing” in an architectural theme. Not through a “building-container,” but rather with the creation of a virtual volume: a place, generated by a grid onto which 650 polycarbonate vectors are grafted. The arrangement of these constantly changing, illuminated vertical elements defines the volume that encompasses within itself a series of other volumes and green courtyards. The Structure of the Smart Grid The pavilion occupies an area of 900 sq.m., overlooking the Decumano (main east-west road). The initial matrix of the project is the intelligent network that ENEL created to power the EXPO site. The basic element of the space – both conceptual and structural – is the grid, which can be seen on the ground. It is precisely this grid, which, by means of a network created with metallic elements carrying the distribution of electricity and the flow of data, conveys the idea of energy sharing. This network is spread across the floor and gives the system a wavy pattern. Grafted onto the network are vectors that represent the system’s nerve endings. Made from clear polycarbonate tubes with a diameter of 150 mm and a height varying between 5.3 and 7 meters, the vectors create a virtual forest, illuminated by a series of LED lights placed on the grid. Interaction and Perception The interaction between the visitor and the environment is a fundamental part of the concept. The perception that the visitors will have of the virtual volume changes continuously in relation to the point of observation and the movement of people: the alignment, disalignment and overlapping of the vertical elements produces a continuous changing of the visitors’ perception of the space. The vibration produced by the variations of the light accentuates the kinetic effect. The project also proposes a playful aspect that allows the visitor to penetrate freely into the “forest” and to interact with the vectors through unexpected situations of light and sound. Green plays an especially important role in enhancing the experience; in both the three densely wooded courtyards and the areas surrounding the pavilion a great variety of plants and herbs are used that belong to the “Mediterranean garden.” Full of colorful, lingering blossoms, these are designed to adapt to the changing seasons, expressing their message for the entire duration of the Expo. The Visit Experience An elevated walkway is the dynamic experiential path that leads visitors through both the virtual forest and the natural forest. The lush green courtyards make the topic of sustainability the beating heart of the system. The wooden walkway is covered by a printed glass roof that protects against rain and creates a shaded space. A nebulizer system adds to the walk and soft music creates an evocative atmosphere. An interactive informational strip running along the entire path leads visitors into the virtual forest. The Control Room The Control Room is the operational and nerve center of the entire ecosystem. This mirrored environment is inside the virtual forest, and films and interactive elements allows the visitor to understand how the entire intelligent system works. This is complemented by a stage machine composed by kinetic mirrored elements that echo the pattern of the network even in the control room. A second glassed area has a showroom and entertainment areas that have the virtual forest on one side and a terrace on the other. The glass surfaces are treated to create varying degrees of transparency and reflection, producing a feeling of lightness. The system is powered by energy obtained from photovoltaic panels installed on the pavilion. [text by the architects, source: archdaily.com]

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World EXPO 2015 Milan, Italy

INTESA SANPAOLO PAVILION Michele de Lucchi Architects

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The pavilion is the space where Intesa Sanpaolo welcome visitors and guests, present themselves through messages about sustainable development and promote their commercial offers. The theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life� invites to face a conscious and responsible development, and to take care of the planet for future generations. Within this context, the Intesa Sanpaolo Pavilion is a building with a strong personality and a clear focus on the theme of sustainability environmental impact. The Intesa Sanpaolo Pavilion is composed of three stones, all of them polished and rounded by water. They are attached to one another and from different positions they look like a single stone. Through the stones the water has hollowed out its course. The pavilion is located in a very central part of the Expo site. Standing close to the ancient Roman crossroads and not far from the Italian Pavilion, it overlooks a pool. Structurally, its surface comprises two superimposed walls. The inner wall in wood protects against rain and wind, and the outer one provides shade and gives the building its form. The outer surface is composed of 6363 white tiles, laid in orderly rows, distanced and slightly overlapping as in the roofs of mountain houses. Between the walls a cavity is formed in which air rises by natural induction to prevent the heat from penetrating. The pavilion is built entirely of wood, its frame resting on the services slab built by Expo. It can be dismantled and reconstructed anywhere. Inside, there are two floors. Situated on the ground floor is an exhibition facility, with a fine interactive installation by Studio Azzurro, and a fully operative bank branch offering numerous innovative features. On the first floor are a guest reception foyer and rooms for informal meetings. The exhibition space can be converted into a conference and presentation room at the service of the Bank and its customers. Meetings can be held in it without disturbing the branch’s functions. The whole of the interior is in unfaced wood, conveying the impression of being inside a spacious barn, ready for the storage of resources needed to get through the winter. [text by the architects, source: divisare.com]

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World EXPO 2015 Milan, Italy


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After designing the Spanish pavilion for the Shangai Expo 2010, Miralles Tagliabue EMBT designs a dome for COPAGRI as part of the non-official participants / civil society pavilions for the Expo 2015 Milano.   Copagri is a confederation of agricultural producers organizing and representing hundrends of Italian farmers. During the 6 months of the Expo, they will showcase their approach to the use of natural food products linked to Italian traditions.  The structure is made up of two prefabricated geodesic domes, equal in diameter but different in height, with folded triangles erected as a three-dimensional grid. Both domes are wrapped with an internal suspended PVC sheet for water resistance and covered with a zig-zag pattern net fabric ensuring ventilation.    The pavilion will host weekly rotating displays of natural products narrated by the farmers and the dome is equipped with a multipurpose room for cooking demontrations, a multi-sensorial exhibit and two zones dedicated to biological pizza and icecream tasting.    Text from the architects about the design approach ‘Conceptual Memory’: “The design started from the observation of Italian landscapes, both natural and man-shaped. During this initial design phase, we had the following thoughts:  The splendor of the Italian cities, which are beautifully represented by their domes.  The “landscape” of Rome, Florence, Turin, Venice and Milan is identified with the skyline of their domes, which in different ages always represented the exceptional architectural spaces in Italy. The Pantheon of ancient Rome, Brunelleschi in Florence, Bramante, Bernini, Borromini, Mengoni, Nervi: the Italian domes could tell the story of Italian civilization, and its artistic wonders.    In our project the domes are not only representing the magnificence of the Italian past, but they also show us potential for the future lying in the construction of domes. Continuing the path illustrated by the engineer and inventor Buckminster Fuller, we propose and experiment domes as sustainable structures that, besides being beautiful, use a minimum of materials so that they can be optimized and designed for production in series with a consequent great ease of construction. The dome, made of wood, represents a message of sustainability and will host several exhibitions, accompanying the visitors in the topics proposed by Expo Milano 2015. At the end of the Expo, when all the buildings will be removed, these domes can be easily dismantled, transported and reassembled in symbolic Italian places to host a variety of functions. Therefore, they will make this part of the Expo even more sustainable, witnessing for a long time to come the universal message of Expo Milano 2015 ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’.”   Benedetta Tagliabue also designed the seating project ‘Minamora’ for the Expo in collaboration with the italcementi group. The benches are positioned in the green park next to the Italian Pavilion and their design was inspired by the Japanese word ‘minamo’which means water surface. 

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World EXPO 2015 Milan, Italy

SLOW FOOD PAVILION Herzog & de Meuron Architects

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When we quit our involvement in the further implementation and physical realization of our masterplan for Expo Milan 2015 we would never have thought to come back to that site with a real project. As much as we were convinced that our masterplan would be a good platform for the radical re-invention of what a world exhibition could be in the 21st century, we understood that the organizers would not undertake the necessary steps to convince the participating nations to give up on their conventional indulging in self-contemplation instead of focusing on their specific contribution to agriculture and food production. Also we knew of Carlo Petrini’s resistance to participate in a show that would rather give exposure to the big agro business companies than to his Slow Food movement. But Carlo Petrini has, since the beginning, been one of the most striking and interesting figures involved in the early planning and had therefore been one of the reasons of our own involvement. His radical intellectual and philosophical approach to the questions of biodiversity and food production was the main inspiration for our masterplan from where it could have inspired all national pavilions, public spaces and all other parts of the Expo. We stopped working on the project in 2011 and to our big surprise started again in 2014 after having been invited by the organizers and after a phone call from Carlo Petrini who explained why he had decided to accept presenting Slow Food in a special pavilion, in a very interesting place within our masterplan of the exhibition. We had indeed always seen that place, a triangular piece of land at the very eastern end of the Expo’s central boulevard, well-positioned to become one of the main public forums within our masterplan concept. The pavilion should allow the visitors to discover the significance of agricultural and food biodiversity, to explore the variety of the products that are protagonists of biodiversity, and to become aware of the need of adopting new consumption habits. Our architectural and curatorial proposal is based on a simple layout on tables which creates an atmosphere of refectory and market. People can watch visual statements and read key texts about different consumption habits and their consequences for our planet, they can meet and discuss with exponents of sustainable agriculture and local food production to learn about alternative approaches, and they can smell and taste the richness of agricultural and food biodiversity. We designed three shacks, archaic, almost primitive wood structures that define the triangular space of an interior courtyard or market place. These shacks are long and slender buildings remindful of the Lombardian farm house the ‘Cascina’. After the Expo they will be dismounted and reassembled as garden sheds in school gardens all over Italy mentored by Slow Food with their initiative ‘Orto in condotta’ as the principal national scholastic program for alimentary and environmental education. [text by the architects, source: archdaily.com]

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Pygmalion Karatzas studied Architecture at the Technical University of Budapest (1991-95), Urban Design at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh (1995-97), and practiced architecture for 12 years. In 2006 he participated in the first ‘Ecovillage Design Education’ training-of-trainers course in Findhorn organized by the Global Ecovillage Network and endorsed by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research. Since 2013 he is focusing systematically on architectural and fine art photography, producing a portfolio of 250+ architectural, commercial and artistic projects from Europe, USA and Middle East. His images are regularly featured in Greek and international media, have received 86 distinctions from leading global photographic competitions and the prestigious Fulbright Artist Scholarship award 2015-2016, and are part of private and public collections. Since 2014 he is the photo editor for the Danish Architecture Center and a contributing photographer to Arcaid Images London, iStock Getty Images, and Adobe Stock. Divisare Atlas of Architecture ranks him among the top 100 architectural photographers worldwide. He has participated in exhibitions and fundraising in Greece, Italy, France, UK and USA, and produced 10 book collections, with the ‘Integral Lens’ book receiving 3rd place at the PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris 2018 and shortlisted at the Trieste Photo Days Book Award. ‘Nortigo - architectural abstractions’ received 2nd place at the Moscow International Foto Awards 2019. In affiliation with the University of Tennessee Knoxville and professor Mark DeKay, their paper on a multi-perspectival approach to architectural photography was presented at the 3rd Integral European Conference; at the 5th Trieste Photo Days Festival and in 2019 became part of an academic mini-term / traveling workshop curriculum. Through photojournalistic reportages, collaborations with architectural firms, businesses and organisations, as well as self-initiated projects, he exhibits his passion and dedication to the study, representation and dissemination of the built environment and its broader role as a cultural asset. www.pygmalionkaratzas.com

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Being Becoming vol.1 Pavilions from EXPO 2015 Milan by Pygmalion Karatzas Credits Publisher: Pygmalion Karatzas Photography Photography: Pygmalion Karatzas Editor: Pygmalion Karatzas Author: Pygmalion Karatzas (unless otherwise stated) First edition: 2020 Š 2020 Pygmalion Karatzas All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the publisher. The publisher and author of this book and all products related to this book have used their best efforts in creating this product. Neither the publisher nor the authors make any representation of warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, fitness, or completeness of the contents of this edition and assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. Image Licensing: High-resolution images are available for editorial and limited commercial use. Image Copyright: Rights-Managed Š Pygmalion Karatzas. Edition Type: Open edition print. Fine Art Prints: Images are available in gallery-quality fine art prints on various sizes, media and framing options. For further information on usage licensing and prints: pygmalionk@hotmail.com www.pygmalionkaratzas.com

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Pygmalion Karatzas Photography www.pygmalionkaratzas.com

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Profile for Pygmalion Karatzas

Being Becoming vol.1  

A presentation of the pavilions from World EXPO 2015 in Milan Italy through architectural photography by Pygmalion Karatzas. Volume 1 presen...

Being Becoming vol.1  

A presentation of the pavilions from World EXPO 2015 in Milan Italy through architectural photography by Pygmalion Karatzas. Volume 1 presen...


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