In an effort to “feed the world,” penda, in collaboration with Alex Daxboeck, has won first runner-up in the two-stage competition for the Austrian Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo. Supporting the Expo’s theme, penda’s proposal plans to be designed and harvested by its visitors, who will plant herbs, vegetables and fruits all over it throughout the duration of the seven-month event. By the end of the Expo, the pavilion will be fully taken over by organic food, which will then be prepared by chefs and served back to the visitors in the Pavilion-Restaurant.
The Architects' Description:
'Feeding the Planet' - the overall topic of the 2015 expo in Milan - gives Austria the chance to show what is really great about food in Austria - the quality. No other country has more organic food from local farmers in shops and food markets. The reason for that is Austria's size. Being a small country means that locally produced food has short ways to its costumers with the guarantee to be fresh and healthy. Especially in times of increasing food scandals, GMO's and worldwide cooperations owning our food and water, creating awareness of the importance of regional and seasonal food is significant. This quality and mindset of local production is the main design-principle of the proposal for the Austrian pavilion 2015.
During the summer months of the Expo, visitors are asked to fill the gaps between the timber structure with seeds of vegetables, fruits or herbs. As a design principle, the structure is just a frame for 'home-grown' food and the visitors are the main designers decorating the pavilion with plants of their choosing. Therefore the guests get a pot at the entrance, then they turn onto an exhibition ramp of 820sqm - partly outside, partly inside - constantly surrounded by the main structure. On this exhibition ramp local plants and seeds are shown to the visitors and they are given an understanding of the lifecycle of plants and the passion of people who are involved in the process. The visitors get a closer insight of how our food gets seeded and treated while it grows, how it gets picked and harvested and how the ingredients get combined for traditional Austrian cuisine, wine or schnaps. That it does matter what we eat should be the main message of the exhibition to bring to the visitors mind.
The ramp will end at the restaurant, where all vegetables, fruits and herbs planted by the visitors will be prepared by the kitchen into traditional Austrian dishes.
At the beginning of the seven-month Expo, the pavilion will be more or less a naked structural grid of 3.6m executed in quadruple timber with a squared profile of 8cm side length. Having a modular system which is based on a straight grid gives the pavilion great freedom of reacting to an increasing number of visitors by implementing more timbers and more pots.
With the seeding, growing and harvesting of the plants, the pavilion will be in a constant change during the Expo and the appearance of the pavilion will turn from a structural frame into a grid which is fully taken over by nature. Being a participant in this transformation and experiencing the pavilion with all his or her senses, the visitor's bond to the Pavilion will grow and Austria will be connected in people's minds as a place for healthy food and a sustainable way of life.
Reference: penda designhouse