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China Pavilion attracts global interest at Expo Milano 2015

by Peace Chiu on May 13, 2015 in Architecture
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The China Pavilion creates a serene, organic setting for visitors to explore Chinese culture           (© Sergio Grazia)

The China Pavilion creates a serene, organic setting for visitors to explore Chinese culture (© Sergio Grazia)

China's first national expo pavilion overseas is drawing worldwide appreciation for its design

Around 140 countries are showcasing their national pavilions at the Expo Milano 2015, an International Exhibitions Bureau (BIE) recognised universal exhibition hosted by Milan, Italy, but it's a country’s debut appearance that is getting the design world talking.

Unlike most countries who went for bold, heavy structure, the designers of the China Pavilion — which is also China's first national expo pavilion outside the country's borders — went on a different path. Instead, they created a serene, organic setting for visitors to explore Chinese structure.

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 © Sergio Grazia

"We intentionally didn't design an attention-getting form. Instead, we highlighted the experience and quality of the space. For us, this is the most important part of the building," said architect Yichen Lu, associate professor at Tsinghua University and principal of New York City-based architecture firm Studio Link-Arc. The institute and firm were commissioned by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade to design the pavilion.

Visitors enter the pavilion by descending onto a planted field, which immerses them in a landscape removed from the bustling fairgrounds. This landscape is sheltered by a floating timber roof and integrates the China Pavilion seamlessly with its environment.

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© Sergio Grazia

The building's materials are renewable, including a timber structure, bamboo roof panels, and wheat straw. The pavilion's iconic roof reflects its theme, 'the Land of Hope'. The designers created the roofline by merging the profile of a city skyline with the silhouette of a rolling landscape. It is an expression of hope that cities and nature can co-exist in harmony.

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© Sergio Grazia

The pavilion's design references traditional Chinese architecture but is built using advanced engineering and construction techniques. The large, airy interior public spaces are filled with sunlight. They contain a series of interactive exhibits, including a large video installation that uses thousands of LED lights to depict images of China.

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© Sergio Grazia

The theme of Expo Milano 2015 is sustainable agriculture and the fair runs from now till 31 October 2015. Over the six-month period, Milan plays host to more than 140 participating countries that are displaying the best of their technologies that offer a concrete answer to a vital need: being able to guarantee healthy, safe and sufficient food for everyone, while respecting the planet and its equilibrium.

Expo Milano 2015 will also give visitors the opportunity to find out about, and taste, the world's best dishes, while discovering the best of the agri-food and gastronomic traditions of each of the exhibitor countries.

Stay tuned for the full story in Perspective magazine.

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