Interview: Italian pavilion at Shanghai Expo symbol of excellence, says architect of project

11:20, April 19, 2010      

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Italy's pavilion at the Shanghai Expo is a symbol of excellence blending innovation and design, architect Giampaolo Imbrighi, father of the project, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

"The pavilion is itself, in the first place, an example of ' Better City, Better Life.' It's designed with innovative and energy-saving building technologies and materials. For the occasion, a new transparent concrete was created by an Italian firm," he said.

The architect highlighted that the outside is just as important as what will be showcased inside Italy's pavilion, titled 'The City of Man.' "It is a living example of the Italian style, way of life and creativity very much admired around the world."

What attracts the visitor in the first place is the structure, an excellence of Italy's sophisticated architecture.

"The public will be fascinated by the luminous crystal walls of the pavilion that enclose the internal area representing a typical medieval Italian town with its piazzas and narrow alleys. But our goal was to reproduce not just the characteristics of the old Italian city, we wanted to add as well the traditional Shikumen- style of Shanghai's passageways."

The Italian pavilion is asymmetric in that none of its composing parts is identical and special because it can be entirely pulled-down and rebuilt elsewhere. "When I designed the project I was inspired by the uniqueness of Italy's national identity, composed of numerous regional diversities that join at the Shanghai Expo," he explained.

Italy's identity is symbolized as well by the pioneering building materials. "The external transparent concrete blending the opaque solidity of artificial rock with the translucency of crystal represents the Italian people's variety that finds a common denominator in the marvelous things they are able to create and which are showcased at the pavilion."

Imbrighi went on highlighting the innovative anti-seismic materials and new technologies used to create an environmentally sustainable structure that respected the leading theme of the expo.

Nature is the core element of Italy's pavilion. "Light flows inside through the 20 meters crystal walls covered by glass, creating a particular visual effect. Special openings in the walls serve as bioclimatic regulators in capturing and releasing heat or cool air according to the outside and inner temperatures. The materials used resist earthquake, typhoons and other natural calamities."

The external glass covering is integrated with solar panels shielding from radiations. Finally, a flow of water runs along the external covering of the entire construction, recalling not just the famous Italian water cities such as Venice but the Chinese ones as well, including Suzhou.

According to the architect, all this is set to generate in the public various different emotions: curiosity to enter the pavilion, a sense of relaxation and general well-being.

Among other successful projects, Imbrighi restyled the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters and designed the complex for the Swimming World Championship 2009 in Rome.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:赵晨雁)

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