Photoactive Concrete Pavilion To Scrub Smog From Milan’s Air


The Italian Pavilion will act like a giant sponge that absorbs pollution and cleans up the city’s air.

Vashti Hallissey
  • 20 june 2014

We’ve heard of biodegradable buildings, a building that blends into the sky and even ones that fly but what about a one that soaks up smog? At next year’s Milan Expo you can expect to see just that in the form of a 13,000 square-meter building that will act as an air purifier for the city.

Milan Expo 2015 is based on the theme of ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’ and, as the first prize winner, the Italian Pavilion is being constructed especially for the event. It will play an important role in the exposition’s aim to educate people on the planet’s precious resources and the dwindling food supply.

Designed by Milan-based architects Nemesi & Partners, the Italian Pavilion will be made with photocatalytic concrete which absorbs air pollutants and turns them into inert salts. Taking its sustainability even further, the building’s mortar will be made of 80% recycled materials and it will also feature a canopy of solar panels to generate power during the day.

The building not only tackles nitric and nitrogen oxides in the same way as a forest, it’s shaped like one too. Visitors will be invited to walk from the ground-level roots to the upper foliage on the fourth floor of the building. The Expo’s 20 million expected visitors will have the chance to journey through the pavilion’s exhibition, taking in stunning views of the city from its branches.

Nemesi & Partners worked with engineers Proger and BMS Progetti as well as Sapienza University of Rome professor Livio de Santoli to create this ambitious design. The collaboration is reflected by the building’s stunning credentials from both an aesthetic and a scientific point of view.

The Italian Pavilion is the latest in a series of exciting initiatives in sustainable architecture that we’ve been following at PSFK. These include an energy-saving skyscraper that controls the climate within, an underground park lit by sunlight and swappable capsule homes. These all point towards a future in which, instead of damaging their surroundings and wasting resources, buildings can be zero impact and even benefit the environment.

The Italian Pavilion is set to be a permanent fixture in Milan, after the Expo it will be the city’s center for technological innovation.

You can find out more about the future of nature-inspired architecture here.

The Italian Pavilion

[h/t] Co.Exist

+Italian Pavilion
+Milan Expo
+Nemesi & Partners

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