The canopy over the World Avenue at Expo is not merely a question of aesthetics but also the outcome of an in-depth study by the Ufficio di Piano (Planning Office) of Expo, working together with structural engineer Massimo Majowiecki under the supervision of the International Council of Architects.
The canopy appears to float over the Decumanus (and also over the Cardo, the side paths, Piazza Italia and the West Gate, albeit with different characteristics). It is composed of a horizontal tensile structure system with counter-curving cables, a recyclable PVC canopy membrane, and vertical anchor posts. A series of openings along the path creates a chimney effect. Thanks to the orientation towards the Alps and the waterfalls near the service areas, this long shaded promenade is several degrees cooler than on the outside.
The structure consists of a suspension bridge styled with upper and lower cables connected by tensioned tie cables. The upper and lower cables are connected to the masts on each side, and the masts are in turn supported by tie-back cables connected to concrete foundations. Steel strut elements span between the adjacent lower cables and upper cables. This design provides a very stable structure which supports the PVC fabric membrane cladding.
Cardo and Decumano are the two main axes of the Expo Site with a total surface of 80,000 square metres. They are covered by a translucent tensioned fabric structure. The segmented lightweight structures provide comfortable shading and protection from rain. Based on the model of a Roman city, with a 1,500 metre long "Decumano" and a 350 metre long north-south axis "Cardo", this covered walkway is the link between country pavilions.
Project: Cardo and Decumano
Location: Milan, Italy
Architects: Architecture Massimo Majowiecki, Bologna, Italy
Technical info: PVC mesh and ETFE
Picture credits: Expo 2015, Italo Rota & Partners