LINKING PEOPLE WITH NATURE
The theme of Expo 2015 was “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”. 145 countries participated in the Exposition and many of them proposed their ideas concerning the most urgent environmental issues in the areas of hydrology and intensive farming. That particular project was inspired by two of the stated problems.
The first one is water scarcity. Some of the statistics specialists claim that today agriculture uses 70% of water worldwide. The issue was addressed, for instance, by United Arab Emirates representatives.
The second one is the inefficiency of traditional farming due to disproportion of the amount of available agriculture lands and the tempo of worldwide population increase. The problem can be tackled with application of new technologies such as vertical farming and hydroponics. In Milano vertical farms were presented by USA, Israel and Monaco. Hydroponics and aquaponics could have been seen in the pavilions representing Italy, Belgium, Kuwait, Qatar, etc.
The project’s proposition is to create special hyperboloid structures which are to achieve multiple purposes. First of all, they work with rainwater: large truncated-cone-shaped shells collect water, equipment in the narrowest part of the structure filters and nutrifies collected water, lastly water supplies are divided between plants in the lower part and underground reservoirs. In case of water lack underground waters are possible to utilize as well. Nether truncated-cone-shaped part of the structure is covered by climate skin made of ETFE sheet glazing, recyclable material with excellent chemical, electrical and high-energy radiation resistance properties. Inside of this skin forms a greenhouse equipped with hydroponics technologies. Three structures are connected with a pedestrian bridges system adding to the whole Expo experience. Moreover, a wide range of additional surfaces are to be used for vertical farming providing shading where needed.
The shape inspiration comes from the image of reels linked by a web of threads. That should remind people about sacred connection between the society and the nature. Furthermore, the Expo site itself provides a variety of analogous shapes in the form of Albero della Vita, Children’s Park and Vietnam Pavilion.
Student residential buildings are to be integrated in the whole system. Water supplies for domestic needs are to be included in the main water cycle. Residential buildings are partially complemented by semi-covered wooden galleries essential in the hot Italien climate.
Site landscape planning responds to the buildings’ volumes. Multiple petal-shaped plazas should provide space for students’ gatherings and activities without interference with the plants growth process.
Overall the project’s goal was to imagine innovative and entertaining environment for students, farm workers and visitors and integrate that environment to the Expo site without an impression of foreignness. Last but not least, modern technologies usage and uncommon shapes are to catch public’s attention and to engage a large audience in the agricultural environmental issues education.