‘A cloud hovering over a land of hope’ is how Studio Link-Arc and Tsinghua University have described their winning entry for the China Pavilion at the World Expo, 2015 in Milan.

The focus of this Expo is “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” and the China pavilion has taken this in its stride by bringing out one of the most essential issues that we face globally today. The ‘hovering cloud’ is the roof of the pavilion, while the southern façade of the roof is shaped in the form of a landscape of mountains and the northern façade boasts the skyline of a city. The concept comes alive as the two ends of the roof merge to exhibit that nature and cities must coexist for hope to perpetuate.

Courtesy of Studio Link-Arc

Courtesy of Studio Link-Arc

A successful piece of Architecture is one which is able to touch the lives of the people it has been made for. Will this concept of the landscape and city merging into a land of hope be impressed on the visitors as they go through the pavilion, or will it just remain so in theory, is something to be discovered.

Courtesy of Studio Link-Arc

Courtesy of Studio Link-Arc

The pavilion has been designed to be perceived as a “field of spaces,” and not as an object in the Expo. As one enters the pavilion through an outdoor landscaped space, one is met with a wheat landscape, signifying China’s agrarian past. This landscape evolves into an LED installation at the centre. The ground floor also holds other interactive installations. This leads to a panoramic viewing platform and further to a multimedia exhibition as one goes up the ramp. The pavilion finally opens on the roof for all to view the entire Expo from this point.

Courtesy of Studio Link-Arc

Courtesy of Studio Link-Arc

The structure takes pride in Chinese construction techniques. The roof utilises traditional Chinese timber raised beam construction, while also using modern technology for long spans. The first look of the pavilion gives away shingled roof panels inspired from traditional pottery roof construction. These have been reinterpreted by using bamboo, thus adding a unique character, providing shade while also letting in light, and further creating a transparent, floating effect.

Courtesy of Studio Link-Arc

Courtesy of Studio Link-Arc

Architects: Tsinghua University, Studio Link-Arc
Location: Ingresso EXpo, Via Giorgio Stephenson, 107, 20157 , Italy
Project Team: Alban Denic, Shuning Fan, Mario Bastianelli, Ching-Tsung Huang, Hyunjoo Lee, Dongyul Kim, Ivi Diamantopoulou, Wei Huang, Zachary Grzybowski, Elvira Hoxha, Aymar Mariño- Maza, Zoe Zhou (Studio Link-Arc)
Year: 2015
Photographs: Sergio Grazia, Zheheng Hong

By: Sahiba Gulati

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