Palazzo Italia Expo 2015

Last year, 148 countries sent representatives to Milan, Italy, to display their own unique cultures and regional characteristics at Expo 2015. Architecturally, the heart of the Expo was the Italian Pavilion, whose white netlike exterior is formed of pre-cast elements created using a special air-purifying mortar produced by Italcementi. Italcementi is part of HeidelbergCement since 2016.

As far back as the industrial revolution, countries have regularly met at World's Fairs (a.k.a. Expos) to compare their various technological and trade-related advances. Soon after inception, countries began constructing their own Pavilions, attempting to express in architecture their uniqueness. These have often highlighted local landscapes, regional materials, production methods and technologies associated with the various home countries.

In this tradition, the Italian Pavilion (Palazzo Italia) at Expo 2015 in Milan was a visible symbol of commitment to conservation – combined with extravagant 'Grandezza': rising 35 metres from the foot to the top of the front wall is a tangle of branch-like concrete elements, constructed using environmentally active titanium-oxide mortar, which give the Pavilion a post-modern look reminiscent of an urban forest. The 9,000 m3 facade is a dazzling white, made all the more intense through the addition of a fine Carrara marble powder to the mix. The sustainable mortar comprised of 80 percent recycled materials. The aim of the planner was a design taking its inspiration from nature, while retaining a modern and innovative feel, and calling to mind the long tradition of Italian architecture.

After being selected from a total of 68 candidates competing for the project, Italian architects Nemesi & Partners became involved early on – together with Proger and BMS Progetti, which handled engineering and cost management, and Professor Livio De Santoli, who integrated sustainability into the design. Italy's Styl-Comp, fabricator of complex concrete elements, manufactured more than 700 facing panels using a special, high-performance cement-based mortar offering high flexural strength from cement-maker Italcementi. The so-called “i.active Biodynamic Cement” features patented TX Active Technology allowing the organically latticed outer wall to filter the air, converting pollutants into inert salts. This helps reduce smog in the heavily travelled streets of Milan.

The Palazzo Italia is the winning project of “The Excellence Award 2016” which is presented by the American Concrete Institute (ACI) for excellence in concrete innovation and technology.

Further information

Project Data

  • Nemesi & Partners Srl, Mailand/Rom

    Architect

  • Italiana Costruzioni S.p.A.

    Contractor

  • 2015

    Completion

Location

Italienischer Pavillon Expo Via Cristina Belgioioso 28
20157 Milano (Italy)

Palazzo Italia, Italy. Palazzo Italia, Italy, at the Expo 2015 in Milan

Palazzo Italia, Italy. Palazzo Italia, Italy, at the Expo 2015 in Milan

Palazzo Italia, Italy. Palazzo Italia, Italy, at the Expo 2015 in Milan

Palazzo Italia, Italy. Palazzo Italia, Italy, at the Expo 2015 in Milan

Palazzo Italia, Italy. Palazzo Italia, Italy, at the Expo 2015 in Milan

Palazzo Italia, Italy. Palazzo Italia, Italy, at the Expo 2015 in Milan

Palazzo Italia, Italy. Palazzo Italia, Italy, at the Expo 2015 in Milan

Palazzo Italia, Italy. Palazzo Italia, Italy, at the Expo 2015 in Milan

Palazzo Italia, Italy. Palazzo Italia, Italy, at the Expo 2015 in Milan