The German Pavilion translates the German field and meadow landscape into its architecture in a striking and surprising way: a building consisting of a gently sloping landscape level with a freely accessible surface and a thematic exhibition inside.
In this landscape, with clearly discernible fields, stylised plants grow as "idea seedlings" up from the exhibition to the exterior surface, creating a large, protective canopy. These are the connecting elements, dovetailing the exterior and interior, the architecture and the exhibition itself. They connect indoor and outdoor spaces, exhibition and architecture. Those trees are made of PVC/PES material at the top level, and ETFE in the bottom level. The organically flowing design language – floating leaves hovering over the landscape – creates a distinctive and unforgettable image.
The expressive membrane roofs in the shape of emerging plants, inspired in their constructionand bionic design language by nature, represent one of the pavilion’s key design elements. The modern steel and PVC/PES membrane structure reduces the consumption of materials and makes for an extremely lightweight construction. The unusual, organic flowing lines express pioneering innovations inspired by nature.
Formally, the architecture is reminiscent of a “supplanted landscape” set in the pavilion’s premises which gradually slopes upward to a height of 10 metres. The German Pavilion then applies the concept of stylised fields and meadows in great detail. The use of different native woods, in different grains and tones, creates a highly distinctive design. The fields and meadows evolve into a walk-through wooden deck. Wood is not only warm and inviting, it also attests to the deliberate use of renewable resources with a balanced CO2 audit. The façade design consists of a horizontal lamellar structure. It follows the sloping landscape and façade openings, reminding viewers of horizontal earth strata. The façade is as simple as it is “intelligent”. Its permeability and natural ventilation – achieved through a lamellar structure, are part of a simple, yet very effective, interior climate concept, which, in combination with energy-efficient technologies, ensures comfortable temperatures in all exhibition areas.
With its open and freely accessible landscape level, the German Pavilion doesn’t feature explicitly prestigious architecture. Rather, it is a meeting place for fascinating encounters and exchanging ideas – clearly communicating “Fields of Ideas”. The pavilion is welcoming and lively, uniquely reflecting Germany's attitude towards environmental protection, and communicates its messages with authenticity. With a multifaceted spectrum of inspiration, interaction and participation, visitors to the German Pavilion themselves become part of the large, vivid picture of Germany.
Project: German Pavilion
Location: Milan, Italy
Architects: David Adey, San Diego, CA, USA
Technical info: PVC/PES mesh and ETFE
Picture credits: B. Handke, SchmidHuber