Milan is hosting the 2015 World EXPO with the theme of “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”.The intent is “to showcase the most advanced technologies and innovations for a sustainable future”. There is a huge focus on nutrition and food production. The site is composed of approximately 250 acres on the western outskirts of Milan. There are more than 130 participating countries and 50 of them built their own custom designed pavilions that are designed to showcase the architecture and/or character of the individual country. The basic layout of the place is that of a very wide main avenue which is approximately 150 feet wide. The overall length I estimate at 4 football fields. The countries pavilions and other activity spaces are all aligned along the main avenue.
This place is one huge party! You can see all kinds of people from just about everywhere on the planet. And, yes, there are kids,. kids, kids everywhere. I was there on a Friday, it was relatively peaceful in the morning, but by mid afternoon, after the school started letting out, it soon became a sea of students. Even at that, the place is big enough to not feel overcrowded, but I don’t think I want to come here on the weekend.
Since I was there only for a day, I limited my pavilion visits to Germany, Russia, Italy, and the USA. How long it takes to go through each pavilion depends on the country. I spent about 30 minutes in The Russia, USA, and Germany pavilions, but about 2 hours in the Italy Pavilion. It is the largest and most popular pavilion, and I had to wait 1 hour in line, but it was worth it. The design is that of a bird’s nest, and it resembles a nest in the grouping of building elements and the exterior façade treatment. The interior spaces sprawls out amongst 4 levels and 4 separate building “pods” that are connected by bridges. The USA pavilion was covered in vertical gardens (walls that are covered with growing vegetables herbs, etc.) which is now a fun and popular building expression in some design circles.
Overall, I rate the EXPO as a great success, although I was expecting a more grand treatment of the main avenue, It is huge, but is covered to protect from rain and sun, but the paving is painted asphalt which really looks cheap. And one point of contention is that with all the food vendors (each country showcased its many varieties of cuisine), it felt a bit overly like a huge restaurant. I would have liked to see much more emphasis on actual food production (growing, research, experimentation) and less on eating the different typed of cuisine. I must admit though that the food is all very good.
Ok, enough blah, blah, blah; enjoy the pictures……