Expo Milan 2015, Slow Food Pavilion
Milan, Italy
Project 2014, realization 2015; 1 May – 31 October 2015

When we quit our involvement in the further implementation and physical realization of our masterplan for Expo Milan 2015 we would never have thought to come back to that site with a real project. As much as we were convinced that our masterplan would be a good platform for the radical re-invention of what a world exhibition could be in the 21st century, we understood that the organizers would not undertake the necessary steps to convince the participating nations to give up on their conventional indulging in self-contemplation instead of focusing on their specific contribution to agriculture and food production. Also we knew of Carlo Petrini's resistance to participate in a show that would rather give exposure to the big agro business companies than to his Slow Food movement. But Carlo Petrini has, since the beginning, been one of the most striking and interesting figures involved in the early planning and had therefore been one of the reasons of our own involvement. His radical intellectual and philosophical approach to the questions of biodiversity and food production was the main inspiration for our masterplan from where it could have inspired all national pavilions, public spaces and all other parts of the Expo.

We stopped working on the project in 2011 and to our big surprise started again in 2014 after having been invited by the organizers and after a phone call from Carlo Petrini who explained why he had decided to accept presenting Slow Food in a special pavilion, in a very interesting place within our masterplan of the exhibition. We had indeed always seen that place, a triangular piece of land at the very eastern end of the Expo's central boulevard, well-positioned to become one of the main public forums within our masterplan concept.

The pavilion should allow the visitors to discover the significance of agricultural and food biodiversity, to explore the variety of the products that are protagonists of biodiversity, and to become aware of the need of adopting new consumption habits.

Our architectural and curatorial proposal is based on a simple layout on tables which creates an atmosphere of refectory and market. People can watch visual statements and read key texts about different consumption habits and their consequences for our planet, they can meet and discuss with exponents of sustainable agriculture and local food production to learn about alternative approaches, and they can smell and taste the richness of agricultural and food biodiversity.

We designed three shacks, archaic, almost primitive wood structures that define the triangular space of an interior courtyard or market place. These shacks are long and slender buildings remindful of the Lombardian farm house the 'Cascina'. After the Expo they will be dismounted and reassembled as garden sheds in school gardens all over Italy mentored by Slow Food with their initiative 'Orto in condotta' as the principal national scholastic program for alimentary and environmental education.
Herzog & de Meuron, 2014


Herzog & de Meuron Project Team:
Partners: Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, Andreas Fries (Partner in Charge)
Project Team: Liliana Amorim Rocha (Project Manager), Alessia Catellani, María Ángeles Lerí Ruesca (Associate), Mateo Mori, Marco Uliana

Client: Expo 2015 S.p.A, Slow Food Promozione S.r.l.
Client Representative: Matteo Gatto (Expo 2015 S.p.A.); Pierluigi Piumatti (Slow Food Promozione S.r.l.)

Design & Build Contractor:
Rubner Objektbau Consorzio Stabile S. Con. R. L., Brunico, Italy

Building Data

Site Area: 35'220sqft / 3'272sqm
Gross Floor Area: 12'589sqft / 1'170sqm
Number of Levels: 1
Footprint: 12'589sqft / 1'170sqm
Height: 21ft / 6m

Materials / Manufacturers
Wood structures in larch that after the Expo will be dismounted and reassembled in school gardens all over Italy.

Detailed Data:
Exhibition Pavilion: Length 42m, Width 9m, Height 6m; GFA 381sqm; GIA 378sqm; 27 modules
Tasting Area Pavilion: Length 50m, Width 9m, Height 6m; GFA 451sqm; GIA: 431sqm; 32 modules
Taste Theater Pavilion: Length 38m, Width 9m, Height 6m; GFA 338sqm; GIA: 326sqm; 24 modules

Use / Function:
Cultural: Exhibition area of Slow Food for Expo Milan 2015 consisting of three pavilions and a central plaza.
Exhibition: The exhibition will allow visitors to discover the significance of agricultural and food biodiversity, to explore the variety of products protagonists of biodiversity and to become aware of the need of adopting new consumption habits.


Luis Fernández-Galiano (Ed.):  Arquitectura Viva Monografias. Herzog & de Meuron 2013-2017.

Vol. No. 191-192, Madrid, Arquitectura Viva SL, 12.2016.