Caritas Pavilion

photoPiuarch envisions the theme “Divide to multiply. Breaking the bread” in an architectural language to design a pavilion for Caritas for Milan Expo 2015. They have been calculative in designing the structure for the ease of dismantling and assembling it elsewhere, and also to encourage the spaces for multifunctional purposes

The Concept
Piuarch has designed the Caritas pavilion for Expo 2015 giving a physical dimension to a philosophical theme: creating wealth by dividing. Indeed, the architectural concept centres around the idea of sharing as an opportunity.

The Materials and the Structure
The Edicola, a small pavilion, has the appearance of a fragmented cube that translates the idea of creating wealth by sharing into architectural terms. The structure has been designed keeping simplicity at the core of its composition and the unadorned nature of its appearance.

The structure is divided into 5 cubes that are similar to each other but of different sizes and designed for different purposes. They are positioned on the ground and joined by vertices, a reference to the Edicola’s typical square floor plan. The uniformity of the construction is provided by its structural profile characterized by the same external dimensions, colour and materials.

Thanks to its extremely simple structure, the Edicola is truly eco-sustainable. Externally, it is made of plastic pretensioned mesh that lets the air flow through without any need for air conditioning and lets in natural light which helps keep energy use to a minimum.

The plot occupied by Caritas presents a number of different features: a 200 sqm outdoor paved area that greets visitors, a 150 sqm covered area divided into different rooms and a 550 sqm green area.

It is not just a place but 5 situations and 5 experiences that help visitors relate to the theme divide to multiply and the Caritas world.

An Experiential Space
Divide to multiply is a concept that – aside from food – can apply to ideas, places, situations and knowledge. The theme and philosophy of sharing are expressed at the Expo in a place conceived to encourage people to meet and exchange experiences.

Indeed, the Edicola will be at the heart of a cultural programme of events on the theme “Divide to multiply. Breaking the bread” that takes its inspiration from the well-known episode in the Gospel.

Upon entering the structure, visitors will cease to be spectators and will become active participants in a multimedia experience.

The itinerary will take visitors through the different rooms, each dedicated to a specific experience, and will exhibit, at its heart, a work of art: the installation Energy, made in 1973 by German artist Wolf Vostell.

The work comes from the artist’s own museum in Malpartida in the Estremadura region in Spain and it presents a Cadillac car wrapped in bread loaves. By irreverently placing side by side a status symbol and the basic necessity par excellence, it expresses a critique of consumer society.

Each person’s individual experience shall be transformed into a collective experience and will live on, even after the Expo, on the web. Indeed, as they complete the itinerary, visitors will be asked to record a video message which will be pieced together with the messages of other visitors in a collage of comments in many different languages, a collective spiritual legacy of this experience that will subsequently be shared and hence multiplied in the social media.

The Position
The Caritas Edicola at the Expo is placed in a strategic position, along the Decumano, near the main entrance. This position ensures maximum visibility and number of visitors: 70% of the visitors are expected to enter the site through this entrance.

Re-use of the Edicola
Sharing messages to share places – The Caritas Edicola will not cease to function once the Expo is over but will be communicating its message in a different place. The structure has been designed ensuring that it can be efficiently dismantled and re-assembled elsewhere. Thanks to its shape, structure and dimension it can be used as a school, a counselling centre for the disadvantaged or a centre from which to provide basic life support to the needy.

The cultural programme
The Edicola is the heart of a programme of events that Caritas will develop over 6months of the exposition: 11 conferences presenting approximately a hundred experts and witnesses from all over the world who will speak on the topics of hunger, the right to food and water, food paradoxes, migrations and war as consequences of the unfair distribution of resources.

The symbolic date when this programme is been inaugurated is the Caritas Ambrosiana Expo Day, when the representatives of the 164 national Caritas organisations that belong to the international confederation will meet to present the results of their global campaign against world hunger – “One human family, food for all”. On this occasion, seven model projects against world hunger will be presented, seven good practices, one for each of the confederation’s broad geographical areas: Africa, Asia, Middle East and North Africa, Europe, Latin America, North America, Oceania.

In addition to the programme of events, a number of local awareness-raising initiatives will be held in the ecclesial communities in the months preceding the Expo and during the six months of the exposition itself.

Text courtesy: Piuarch  & Photograph courtesy: Andrea Martiradonna

Fact File
project name: Caritas Pavillion
location: Expo’15, Milan, Italy
commissioned by: Caritas Internationalis, Caritas Italiana, Caritas Ambrosiana
representative: Luciano Gualzetti
conception: Caritas Ambrosiana (Sara Zandrini, Alessandro Comino)
architectural concept & design: Piuarch (Francesco Fresa, Germàn Fuenmayor, Gino Garbellini, Monica Tricario)
team: Miguel Pallares, Davide Fascione, Gianluca Iannotta, Alessandro Laner, Alessandro Leanti, Enrico Pellegrini, Jenny Spagnolatti, Santiago Trujillo, Anna Zauli
built area: 900 sqm
systems design (MEP):
ESA Engineering
Francesco Gori, Elena Ceroni, Laura Cocchini, Claudia Iacopo, Alessandro Pinnacarta
structures design:
FV Progetti
Filippo Valaperta, Sabina Franco
construction and Safety Supervision: Arch. Laura Romanò
external Shell and Cladding: AMEA sistemi srl
furnishings by: Emmemobili home forniture
green area design: Cornelius Gavril
Identification, acquisition and set up of the work of art by: Artache (Stefania Morellato, Graziela Bertolini, Luigi Garbini; Gianluca Ranzi)
lighting: iGuzzini
sponsor: Banca BSI
photograher: Andrea Martiradonna

*The work “ENERGY“ by Wolf Vostell comes from the MUSEO VOSTELL MALPARTIDA. It is a donation from Gino Di Maggio’s FLUXUS collection to the Museum.

About the Firm
Piuarch was established in 1996, the brainchild of its four founding partners: Francesco Fresa, Germàn Fuenmayor, Gino Garbellini and Monica Tricario. Today, approximately 30 architects and engineers, from all four corners of the world, work there headed by four partners and 11 associates. Piuarch’s projects take form from the recuperation of industrial areas to public buildings, complexes for residential and office purposes, and town planning.

The encounter with Dolce&Gabbana marked the beginning of a collaboration that has been going on for 10 years and that has resulted in the realization of more than 40 boutiques all over the world – the Milan headquarters of Dolce&Gabbana, the Factory in Incisa in Val d’Arno and the requalification of the ex Metropol theatre, now multi-functional space for event and fashion shows. In recent years, Piuarch has developed a number of projects abroad. Among the most recent projects: the Pavilions for Enel and for Caritas at EXPO 2015 Milano, Givenchy Flagship Store in Seoul (South Korea), Quattro Corti building in Saint Petersburg, chosen by Gazprom Neft as its Headquarters, the new Dolce&Gabbana office building and the office building in Porta Nuova, both in Milan. Currently, under construction is the redevelopment of the former Caproni areas in Milan. Piuarch is awarded “Italian Architect of the year 2013” by the National Order of the Architects and in collaboration with in Rome.

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