Malaysian Pavilion–Expo Milano 2015

The theme of Expo Milano 2015—Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life—called for the world to rethink the way food is produced, as well as to recreate healthier and sustainable farming and food production for the benefit of mankind.

This statement underpinned the design of the Malaysian Pavilion to create a visually distinctive and highly recognisable showcase that provided a memorable experience for the visitors of Expo Milano 2015, as well as created a lasting impression of Malaysia as a centre of sustainable agriculture and food practice.

As the country’s primary resource, the rainforest plays an important role in the lives of all Malaysians. A broad variety of rainforest seeds have been used in the traditional recipes of Malaysia’s multi-ethnic diaspora. Thus, the design of the pavilion celebrated the country’s rich food culture, gastronomical diversity and health benefits of the food source.

The building took the form of four seeds. Visitors were taken on a kaleidoscope journey of Malaysia, with each seed encompassing a different theme to bring peoples’ attention to the symbiotic relationship with the rainforest:
• Seed 1: Communication about Malaysian diversity.
• Seed 2: Restore homage to our main food base—the importance of rainforest seeds and products.
• Seed 3: Heal and protect our rainforest and future generations—the importance of the rainforest and herbal or pharmaceutical medicines.
• Seed 4: Inspire the cultural seed to showcase Malaysian culture and ethnicity.

As the exhibition took place during the warmest months of the year, hence ensuring thermal comfort inside the solid pods was essential. The pods were designed to be porous—such as the amphitheatre—to allow maximum daylight penetration into the space whilst maintaining structural integrity. This reduced the dependency on artificial lighting and further reduced operational carbon footprint.

Glued laminated timber—commonly known as glulam—was chosen as an ideal material since it has higher thermal mass insulation, which helps to reduce diurnal variation of internal temperature for solid pods exposed to solar radiation, as well as prevent higher external air temperatures to be conducted through the material.

The project used glulam as it reflected the beauty of the texture of the seeds, while being durable and Malaysian-made. Glulam is stronger than steel, possesses greater strength and stiffness than dimensional lumber of a comparable size, and able to create structural features in an almost limitless variety of straight and curved configurations. The glulam used for the pavilion is from a variety of sustainably sourced hardwood, pieced together with the utmost care and precision.

Due to the fixed opening date of the expo site, the construction had to be finished within five months. Each piece of laminated wood was manufactured in Malaysia, then packed and shipped to Italy. They were cut to specific sizes and planed, and finally brought to the site to be carefully pieced together. A team of architects, engineers and contractors from Malaysia and Italy was on the site to ensure that every step was exact and accurate. Approximately 50,000 pieces of nuts, bolts and screws, over 3,000 pieces of steel joints and 800 pieces of concrete joints were required to create the seed structures.

The Malaysia Pavilion was a showcase of artistry in wood among the crowded field of outstanding pavilion designs in Milan. The intention was to relocate the building after the expo event. However, three pods were disposed of due to the cost of relocation, with one pod remaining on the site.

Project Name: Malaysian Pavilion – Expo Milano 2015
Location: Milan, Italy
Status: Temporary structure
Completion Date: April 2015
Site Area: 2,047 square metres
Gross Floor Area: 1,543.5 square metres
Building Height: 15.4 metres
Client/Owner: PICO International (M) Sdn Bhd
Architecture Firm: Hijjas Kasturi Associates Sdn
Principal Architect: Ar Serina Hijjas
Civil & Structural Engineer: Studio Locatelli Rizzuto
Images/Photos: Hijjas Kasturi Associates Sdn; PICO International (M) Sdn Bhd وان ایکس بت بت فوروارد