Palazzo Italia - Credits : ARCHITECTURAL PROJECT: Nemesi & Partners srl, ENGINEERING: Proger SpA, STRUCTURES AND SYSTEMS: Bms Progetti Srl, SUSTAINABLE ENERGY: Eng. Livio de Santoli

The Tree of Life - the building that purifies the air for its visitors

Posted on 17 September 2014.

During the 2015 Milan Expo (on the theme of "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life", the anticipated 20 million visitors can stroll through a "Tree of Life"

In imagining the future Palazzo Italia, Nemesis & Partners architects took their inspiration from the notion of an urban forest, creating interlaced lines to form a tree structure. The palazzo will be divided into independent blocks, arranged around a large empty space, and connected by walkways. Its white facade will be covered with thousands of panels made from photocatalytic cement. In contact with sunlight, the active ingredient in the cement "captures" certain air pollutants and converts them into inert salts. The building will therefore act as an anti-pollution filter, purifying the air its visitors breathe.

The organic covering gives the Palazzo Italia all the characteristics of an "architectural landscape", and sculpturally interprets the Tree of Life theme. A universal symbol that evokes unity and equilibrium (trunk), the origins of life (roots) and prosperity (the branches). The designer behind the project, Marco Balich, wanted the Palazzo Italia to incarnate this vigorous, mythological tree – in a state of osmosis with the environment, and deeply rooted in the Italian history and culture that generates its wealth. And, as under a large tree, visitors can take refuge there to escape the summer heat. The architects wanted the Palazzo Italia to be as independent as possible. So, to reach optimal temperature it will make maximum use of natural ventilation. On the panoramic terrace, photovoltaic panels will produce some of the energy needed to run the building.

The true symbolic heart of the Milan Expo site, the Palazzo Italia will host the representatives of the Italian state and its Government. It will be the culmination of the Italy Pavilion, a series of exhibition spaces dedicated to culinary traditions, excellent products and the best Italian talents. The "Tree of Life" will continue after the Expo to become the city’s technological innovation center.

For more information:

- Official Expo Milano 2015 website, the Italy Pavilion
- Biodynamic cement: innovative forms and cleaner air
- #1 Italy Pavilion – Interview with Nemesis & Partners
- Photocatalysis on wikipedia
- Expo Milano 2015 on the theme of "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life"