Wood dominates in Cristián Undurraga's Chile Pavilion for Milan Expo

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Renown Chilean architect Cristián Undurraga has created a standout pavilion for this year’s World Exposition(Credit: Edoardo Campanale/Gizmag)

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Renowned Chilean architect Cristián Undurraga has created a standout pavilion for this year’s World Exposition, currently taking place in Milan and running until the end of October. Inspired by "the art of hospitality", the pavilion features a dramatic external wooden facade and stretches over 1,910 sq m (20,560 sq ft). It is strategically positioned next to EXPO’s central concert arena and is a worthwhile stop to explore Chile's art, culture, wine and cuisine.

The Chile Pavilion has been designed to take visitors through several interactive spaces that investigates the country’s rich natural landscapes, including the Atacama Desert, Patagonia, central green valleys, eastern islands and its volcanoes, glaciers, rivers, lakes and beaches.

The pavilion itself is an enormous suspended structure made with a series of large wooden lintels that have been assembled similar to a Meccano set. The impressive structure is supported by four concrete pillars and beautifully encased by two horizontal cross-beams.

"On one hand we wanted to show Chile's construction tradition of building with wood," Sebastian Mallea from Undurraga Deves Architects told Gizmag. "At the same time, this noble and sustainable material allowed us to create a bridge-like structure, supported by six columns, freeing the ground floor and creating an open but shaded space where the borders between the pavilion and its urban context are diffused."

Almost 1,000 sq m (10,764 sq ft) of wood was used to complete the structure, and although the idea to build such an epic structure for only six months is not very sustainable, thought went into the way the building could be re-used after EXPO 2015 wraps up at the end of October.

"To build such a large structure to be used for only six months is not sustainable by definition," says Mallea. "Therefore, we concentrated our efforts on how to extend the building's life cycle. For this reason we created a Meccano-like structure where every single piece can be easily disassembled, transported and reassembled somewhere else. At the same time we consciously designed a very flexible and neutral space that will allow different uses in the future."

The Chile pavilion is accessible via a large central ramp and invites visitors to explore its several interior exhibition spaces. The exhibits boast an array of art works, photography, interactive multimedia displays and sculptures from local Chilean artists. Once visitors have made their way through the exhibition spaces, they finish their journey at the "El Amor de Chile" restaurant, where they can sample some local Chilean specialties and wine.

At the conclusion of EXPO 2015, the pavilion will be transported back to Chile where it will be recycled and re-used for other purposes.

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