China Pavilion for Expo Milano 2015 / Tsinghua University + Studio Link-Arc

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China Pavilion for Expo Milano 2015 / Tsinghua University + Studio Link-Arc
View From South / ©Sergio Grazia

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China Pavilion for Expo Milano 2015 / Tsinghua University + Studio Link-Arc
©Sergio Grazia

Project Details:
Location: Milan, Italy
Client: China Council for the Promotion of International Trade
Organizer: Expo Milano 2015
Architect: Tsinghua University + Studio Link-Arc
Chief Architect: Yichen Lu (Tsinghua University + Studio Link-Arc)
Project Manager: Kenneth Namkung, Qinwen Cai (Studio Link-Arc)
Project Team: Alban Denic, Shuning Fan, Mario Bastianelli, Yoko Fujita, Chen Hu, Ching-Tsung Huang, Hyunjoo Lee, Dongyul Kim, Ivi Diamantopoulou, Wei Huang, Zachary Grzybowski, Elvira Hoxha, Aymar Mariño-Maza, Zoe Zhou (Studio Link-Arc)
Photographs: Sergio Grazia

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.

China Pavilion for Expo Milano 2015 / Tsinghua University + Studio Link-Arc
©Sergio Grazia

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.

China Pavilion for Expo Milano 2015 / Tsinghua University + Studio Link-Arc
View From South / ©Sergio Grazia

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.

China Pavilion for Expo Milano 2015 / Tsinghua University + Studio Link-Arc
©Sergio Grazia

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.

China Pavilion for Expo Milano 2015 / Tsinghua University + Studio Link-Arc
©Sergio Grazia

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.

China Pavilion for Expo Milano 2015 / Tsinghua University + Studio Link-Arc
©Sergio Grazia

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.

China Pavilion for Expo Milano 2015 / Tsinghua University + Studio Link-Arc
©Sergio Grazia

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.

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