Milan Expo 2015: Tsinghua University with Studio Link-Arc to Design China Pavilion


Tsinghua University, alongside New York-based Studio Link-Arc, has been announced as winners of a competition to design the Chinese Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo. Expanding on the Expo’s overarching theme, “Feeding the Planet – Energy for Life,” the pavilion’s “Land of Hope” is centered on the idea that “hope can be realized when nature and the city exist in harmony.”

© Studio Link-Arc

From the Winning Design Team: Rejecting the typical notion of a pavilion as an object in a plaza, the China Pavilion for the 2015 Milan Expo is instead conceived as a field of spaces. Designed as a cloud hovering over a “field of hope”, the pavilion is experienced as a sheltered public plaza beneath a floating roof that incorporates the building’s cultural and exhibition programs. The roof’s distinctive profile creates an iconic image for the project and will foster a unique presence within the Expo grounds.

© Studio Link-Arc
© Studio Link-Arc

The China Pavilion is themed “The Land of Hope”. The project embodies this theme through an undulating roof form, which is derived by merging the profile of a city skyline on the building’s north side with the profile of a landscape on the southern side, expressing the idea that “hope” can be realized when nature and the city exist in harmony. The Pavilion’s floating roof is designed as a timber structure that references the “raised-beam” system found in traditional Chinese architecture, but is adapted to accommodate modern construction technology. The roof is clad in shingled panels that reference traditional Chinese terra-cotta roof construction, but are reinterpreted as large bamboo panels that reduce structural weight, create a shaded public space below, and further enhance the Pavilion’s unique silhouette.

© Studio Link-Arc

Beneath this roof, the building’s ground plane is defined by a landscape of wheat (the “field of hope”) that references China’s agrarian past and transitions seamlessly into a multimedia installation in the center. This installation, formed from a matrix of LED “stalks” that mimic the form of the wheat, forms the centerpiece of the building’s exhibition program.

© Studio Link-Arc
© Studio Link-Arc

The Pavilion’s full exhibition and cultural offerings are experienced as a sequence of spaces, beginning with an exterior waiting area in the landscape, leading to a themed exhibition space with interactive installations and cultural offerings from forty Chinese provinces. After this, visitors are guided up a gently sloped public stair to a panoramic viewing platform above the LED matrix installation, after which they are guided into a multimedia space, which will feature a short film focused on returning home for the Spring Festival. This sequence concludes with visitors stepping outside onto a platform above the bamboo roof that enjoys expansive views of the Expo grounds.

© Studio Link-Arc

Project Name: China Pavilion for Expo Milano 2015
Award: First Prize
Project Location: Italy, Milan
Project Area: 4,000 sqm
Client: China Council for the Promotion of International Trade
Organizer: Expo Milano 2015

Architect: Studio Link-Arc
Chief Architect: Yichen Lu (Tsinghua University + Studio Link-Arc)
Associate In Charge: Kenneth Namkung, Qinwen Cai (Studio Link-Arc)
Project Team: Shuning Fan, Hyunjoo Lee, Dongyul Kim, Alban Denic, Zach Grzybowski, (Studio Link-Arc)
Structural Engineer: Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
Enclosure Engineer: Elite Facade Consultants + ATLV
MEP Engineer: Beijing Qingshang Environmental Art & Architectural Design

Exhibition, Landscape, & Interior Design
Design Director: Dan Su, Yue Zhang (Tsinghua University)
Chief Designer: Yi Du (Tsinghua University)
Exhibition Design: Yanyang Zhou, Danqing Shi (Tsinghua University)
Landscape Design: Xiaosheng Cui (Tsinghua University)
Interior Design: Jiansong Wang (Tsinghua University)
Installation Design: Danqing Shi, Feng Xian (Tsinghua University)
Lighting Design: Yi Du (Tsinghua University)
Visual Identity Design: Xin Gu (Tsinghua University)

Cite: Rosenfield, Karissa. "Milan Expo 2015: Tsinghua University with Studio Link-Arc to Design China Pavilion" 08 Mar 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <>
  • Francesco

    Nice project

  • dido

    It’s a copy of 2010 Expo Spanish Pavilion

  • Qiaoran_Satori

    Tsinghua University should be blamed, it is EXPO, not a general project in China.
    The material and structure of the roof may generate from ancient Chinese building, however,the way it formed and the figure of this pavilion is really like the 2010 Spanish Pavilion.

  • Jose

    Muy bueno pero me pregunto…¿ Es tan fuerte la influencia del gran maestro Frank Gehry?…como dije, no deja de ser un gran proyecto!! por solo citar algunos proyectos, el Museo de la Biodiversidad de Panama, La Casa Danzante de Praga, la misma bodega Marques del Riscal donde el uso del vidrio en sus formas orgánicas es recurrente.

  • Nicky

    a great piece of timber-architecture!