Roma-based Nemesi & Partners has designed a 13,000 square meter “urban forest” that will serve as the Italian Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo. Enveloped within an intricate, branch-like skin, the six-story lattice structure will be made from 900 panels of special cement that will “capture” air pollutants and convert them into inert salts. While purifying the surrounding atmosphere, the pavilion will also be generating energy with the installment of photovoltaic glass. This, along with an exterior play of solid and void, will illuminate an interior open square in which will serve as the main point of entry for visitors.
The architectural marvels set to be unveiled at Expo Milan 2015 have already wowed our socks off. But the latest design from Nemesi & Partners takes things to the next level with a sprawling smog-filtering façade. It sort of looks like Spiderman’s secret cocoon. The Palazzo Italia is about as green as green gets. Not only is the façade constructed of nearly 100,000 square feet of special air-purifying cement created by Italcementi—80 percent of which is made using recycled material—but the top the pavilion is outfitted with a photovoltaic glass roof that produces solar energy when the sun’s out. The sun does the work on the cement skin, too, by capturing pollutants and converting them into inert salts that can be washed away. This is hardly the first building to be built with a smog-gobbling façade, but it is an especially eye-catching one. The organic look of the place is intentional and will certainly help the Palazzo blend in with the other buildings at the expo. Nemesi & Partners say that the project is “inspired by a natural architecture in which the branched weave of the external ‘skin’ of the building generates alternations of light and shadows and solids and voids, creating a scenario that refers to works of Land Art.” Art might be an understatement.