‘Aus­tria. Natu­rally yours.’

The Aus­tria Pavi­lion for the Expo 2015 pro­po­sed by penda


The Aus­tria Pavi­lion for the Expo 2015 in Milano pro­po­sed by penda with Alex Dax­böck gets mainly desi­gned and after­wards eaten by its visitors.

The con­cept for the Aus­trian Expo Pavi­lion 2015 exists of a struc­tu­ral frame which lea­ves enough free­dom for its visitor’s crea­ti­vity to seed plants on its struc­ture and the space that at the end of the Expo the pavi­lion will be fully taken over by orga­nic food.

Fee­ding the Pla­net – the overal topic of the 2015 expo in Mai­land – gives Aus­tria the chance to show what is really great about food in Aus­tria – the qua­lity. No other coun­try has more orga­nic food from local far­mers in shops and food­mar­kets. The rea­son for that is Austria’s size. Being a small coun­try means that locally pro­du­ced food has short ways to its cos­tu­mers with the gua­ran­tee to be fresh and healthy. Spe­cially in times of incre­a­sing food scan­dals, GMO’s and world­wide coope­ra­ti­ons owning our food and water, crea­ting awa­ren­ess of the import­ance of regio­nal and sea­so­nal food is signi­fi­cant. This qua­lity and mind­set of local pro­duc­tion is the main design-principle of the pro­po­sal for the Aus­trian pavi­lion 2015.

During the sum­mer­months of the Expo visi­tors are asked to fill the gaps bet­ween the tim­ber struc­ture with seeds of vege­ta­bles, fruits or herbs. As a design­prin­ciple the struc­ture is just a frame for home-grown food and the visi­tors are the main desi­gners deco­ra­ting the pavi­lion with plants of their cho­sing. The­re­for the guests get a pot at the entrance, then they turn onto an exhi­bi­tion ramp of 820sqm – partly outs­ide, partly inside – con­stantly sur­roun­ded by the main struc­ture. On this exhi­bi­tion ramp local plants and seeds are shown to the visi­tors and they are given an under­stan­ding of the lifecy­cle of plants and the pas­sion of people who are invol­ved in the pro­cess. The visi­tors get a clo­ser insight of how our food get see­ded and trea­ted while it grows, how it gets picked and har­ves­ted and the incredien­ces get com­bi­ned for tra­di­tio­nal Aus­trian cui­sine, wine or schnaps. That it does mat­ters what we eat should be the main mes­sage of the exhi­bi­tion to bring to the visi­tors mind.

The ramp will end up at the restau­rant, where all vege­ta­bles, fruits and herbs which are plan­ted by the visi­tors will be pre­pa­red by the kit­chen to tra­di­tio­nal Aus­trian dishes.

At the star­ting point of the Expo, the pavi­lion will be a more or less a naked struc­tu­ral grid of 3.6m exe­cu­ted in qua­d­ruple tim­ber with an squa­red pro­file of 8cm side length. Having a modu­lar sys­tems which is based on a strai­ght grid, gives the pavi­lion a great free­dom of reac­ting to an incre­a­sing num­ber of visi­tors by implmen­ting more tim­bers and more pots.

With the see­ding, gro­wing and har­ves­ting of the plants, the pavi­lion will be in a con­stant change during the 7 months and the appearance of the pavi­lion will turn from a struc­tu­ral frame into a grid which is fully taken over by nature. Being a main part of this trans­for­ma­tion and expe­ri­en­cing the visit in the pavi­lion with all sen­ses, the visitor’s bond to the Pavi­lion will grow and Aus­tria will be con­nec­ted in people’s mind as a place for healthy food and a sus­tainable way of life.

 Pro­ject: The Aus­tria Pavi­lion for the Expo 2015 pro­po­sal
Archi­tects: penda


penda was esta­blis­hed 2013 by Chris Precht (for­mer office Precht­Eck) and DAyong Sun (pe and da = penda). Our stu­dios are inter­na­tio­nally loca­ted in Vienna and Beijing.

We see archi­tec­ture as a state­ment that always starts with ques­ti­ons about the con­tent and the con­text, about iden­tity, den­sity and the com­mu­nity of a spe­ci­fic site. That is why we treat each and every pro­ject in a uni­que and fresh way and the­re­for the out­come is always costum-made.

We try to under­stand archi­tec­ture as an pro­fes­sion of inter­wo­ven disci­plines and con­se­quently deve­lop an inno­va­tive vision for social, func­tio­nal and for­mal issues, that will create some­thing mea­ningful for the cli­ent while con­tri­bu­ting to the community.

We love what we do, we are pas­sio­nate about archi­tec­ture and deve­lop every pro­ject with the utter­most dedication.


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