Conceived by Paris studio XTU Architects, the competition-winning French pavilion design responds to the expo theme "Feeding the Planet. Energy for life." by proposing a building based around a vision of the market hall as a centre for agricultural production.
"At the time of short-circuit retail, [the project] reinterprets the market model – once a place of exchange, tomorrow's market will be a place of production to be consumed on the spot," said the design team.
Using digital fabrication techniques, cross-crossing layers of timber will give the building its ridged structure. Curved hollows will frame interior spaces, while the designers hope that vines of hops will grow up through the gaps in the lattice.
The ground floor of the pavilion will accommodate an exhibition centred around France's food production. Upstairs, a restaurant will attempt to serve vegetables grown on site using hydroponic processes and aromatic herbs planted on the terrace.
As a result of the various crops, XTU Architects imagines the underside of the undulating ceiling as an upside-down landscape that mimics the rolling hills of the French countryside.
"Below the horizontal roof, the Great Market presents itself as a 'reversed' and spectacular landscape that makes the buzz, a landscaped ceiling that evokes the French identity born from territories," said the studio.
The pavilion will be constructed by May 2015, in time for the opening of the expo. Towards the end of the exhibition, the pavilion will host a festival to celebrate the harvesting of the hops.
France is one of 145 nations participating in the Milan 2015 expo, which takes place from May to October. Other proposals unveiled so far include a Dutch pavilion with a field and tractors on its roof and the national Chinese pavilion, which will feature an undulating roof and an indoor crop field.
Here's a project description from XTU Architects:
French Pavilion Expo Milano 2015
A territory - building,
A fertile market
If the world wanted to eat like the West, several planets would be needed... Civilisation will need to evolve: it must produce and consume differently!
The soil, a fertile ground
a resource for the future
Because geology has provided her with a wide variety of soils, France has a rich genetic heritage, adapted to local conditions, an essential resource to produce differently! These soils have also created a cultural and gastronomic heritage of high quality. With its double feature, France can initiate new practices and a new attitude!
"The soil, fertile ground of the new food revolution."
To this slogan, we respond with a project that relates to the piece of territory.
A Territory - Building
A roof, a great market
The project continues the theme of the great market. A hall, open to the city, a large roof and its shade, pillars that support the building and organise the exhibition, light, and a cool breath of air in the summer heat!
A productive market!
A fertile market!
At the time of short circuit retails, it reinterprets the market model: once a place of exchange, tomorrow's market will be a place of production to be consumed on the spot! Here we have the exhibition on the ground level, the consumption on the terrace and the production on facades and roofs.
On the facades, we grow hops, on the terrace aromatic herbs, and in the restaurant, vegetables to be eaten on the spot. Hydroponic production that depicts the French innovation in partnership with the world leader of the sector!
It is the image of a "fertile market", in direct production-consumption system. And at the end, there will be a great event for the harvesting of hops.
An inverted landscape, four pillars
Below the horizontal roof, the Great Market presents itself as a "reversed" and spectacular landscape that makes the buzz... A landscaped ceiling that evokes the French identity born from territories. The architecture expresses the four pillars that underpin the exhibition: "feed the world today, feed the world tomorrow, pleasure and food, commitment to the future".
A large wooden structure,
a free form
The project, all wood (structures, floors and facades), expresses the French expertise in timber frame, in its most "innovative" form: free forms. Assemblies are invisible, complex geometry is made of digital cutting, all technologies that the company controls, serving the architectural quality. It is spectacular, innovative, graphic. It is both elementary and founding. It is bare wood.