Instead of a blaze of technology, Austria Pavilion at Milan Expo 2015 recreates an Alpine oasis of freshness and pure air for thermal comfort. Designed by a team led by architect and landscape architect Prof. Klaus K. Loenhart, the pavilion presents a dense natural forest with trees, some of which are up to 12-metres high.
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The motto of the Austria Pavilion is breathe.austria. Entering in the middle of a forest, visitors can fill their lungs with fresh air and enjoy a perfectly staged experience of Nature’s beauty. Letters in the branches spell out the word BREATH and disappear until composing the word EAT that leads to the central Air Bar.
The pavilion is a green infrastructure for thermal comfort that makes use of Nature’s intelligence. Indeed, the vegetation creates a unique micro-climate, while the photosynthesis in each leaf provides the model for the solar power used at the pavilion.
The forest, which was planted in just a few months, acts as an air generator: The trees and plants together produce enough oxygen in an hour to sustain 1,800 visitors. At the same time, they bind a total of 92 kg of carbon dioxide.
The freshness of the environmnet is powered also by innovative technologies like silent fans and mist diffusers that irrigate and refresh at the same time. With no air-conditioning technology at all, the perceived temperature (UTC) in the climate-neutral pavilion will be some 5°C lower than in the surrounding area.
The fencing around the pavilion also contributes to the climate concept. The vegetation is surrounded by 180 metres of cross-laminated timber, which keeps the cool air inside the forest.
Austria Pavilion brings together architecture, nature and sustainable technologies. General Commissioner Josef Pröll explains: “Nowadays, buildings are the biggest consumers of energy and sources of CO2 emissions worldwide. Our pavilion is a prototype that offers visions for climate-friendly buildings for tomorrow that utilise Nature’s own capabilities”.