Milan Expo 2015: Tsinghua University with Studio Link-Arc to Design China Pavilion - Italy

Land of Hope, Food for Life

Born from the collaboration between Tsinghua University & Studio Link-Arc, the Chinese Pavilion for Expo 2015 embodies a “land of hope” through its undulating roof form.

Tsinghua University, alongside New York-based Studio Link-Arc, has been announced as winners of a competition to design the Chinese Pavilion at the 2015 MilanExpo. Expanding on the Expo’s overarching theme, “Feeding the Planet – Energy for Life,” the pavilion’s “Land of Hope” is centered on the idea that “hope can be realized when nature and the city exist in harmony.”

From the Winning Design Team: Rejecting the typical notion of a pavilion as an object in a plaza, the China Pavilion for the 2015 Milan Expo is instead conceived as a field of spaces. Designed as a cloud hovering over a “field of hope”, the pavilion is experienced as a sheltered public plaza beneath a floating roof that incorporates the building’s cultural and exhibition programs. The roof’s distinctive profile creates an iconic image for the project and will foster a unique presence within the Expo grounds.

The China Pavilion is themed “The Land of Hope”. The project embodies this theme through an undulating roof form, which is derived by merging the profile of a city skyline on the building’s north side with the profile of a landscape on the southern side, expressing the idea that “hope” can be realized when nature and the city exist in harmony. The Pavilion’s floating roof is designed as a timber structure that references the “raised-beam” system found in traditional Chinese architecture, but is adapted to accommodate modern construction technology. The roof is clad in shingled panels that reference traditional Chinese terra-cotta roof construction, but are reinterpreted as large bamboo panels that reduce structural weight, create a shaded public space below, and further enhance the Pavilion’s unique silhouette.

Beneath this roof, the building’s ground plane is defined by a landscape of wheat (the “field of hope”) that references China’s agrarian past and transitions seamlessly into a multimedia installation in the center. This installation, formed from a matrix of LED “stalks” that mimic the form of the wheat, 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 forty Chinese provinces. After this, visitors are guided up a gently sloped public stair to a panoramic viewing platform above the LED matrix installation, after which they are guided into a multimedia space, which will feature a short film focused on returning home for the Spring Festival. This sequence concludes with visitors stepping outside onto a platform above the bamboo roof that enjoys expansive views of the Expo grounds.

Project Name: China Pavilion for Expo Milano 2015
Award: First Prize
Project Location: Italy, Milan
Project Area: 4,000 sqm
Client: China Council for the Promotion of International Trade
Organizer: Expo Milano 2015