"When you take a breath, you touch a part of the planet with the inside of your body." Tor Norretranders
The architecture. Building structure as Landscape The Austria pavilion in Milan is a showcase project which combines building and the environment. Through the large-scale planting of 560m2 of forest, ‘breathe’ creates a complex network of people, the environment and climate.
The exterior space in the interior The pavilion forms a frame around a generous vegetation body and acts as a vessel for the performance of the internal landscape. With technical assistance the framed shape produces the microclimate of an Austrian forest. Wherever light enters the built structure, ecological growth and metabolism takes place. The vegetation of the forest area has a leaf surface area of about 43.200m2 which generates 62.5kg of oxygen per hour, enough to meet the demand for 1,800 people and thus contributing to global oxygen production. This process is technically supported by evaporative cooling but is entirely free of air conditioners. In this way a dense Austrian forest can be recreated with comparativly natural measures, that is based on the cooling effect of evapo-transpiration of plants and the forest soil. The achieved climatic result differs significantly from the entcountered air and climate in Milan and becomes perceptable.
Showcase Project The pavilion represents viewing technology and natural environments as a whole picture, that could inspire numerous other projects. The Austrian Pavilion creates a place which connects the seemingly incompatible; technology and natural diversity. The 100 percent planting of forest vegetation is an exemplary contribution to urban conduct, as the integral use of landscape can provide urban forms of life with enough oxygen and cooled air. This example highlights Austria’s sustainable afforestation policy, but also its reverse in the worldwide decline in the number of life-giving trees. The pavilion as a prototype acts as an intermediary which encourages discourse and ideas on renewable energy, smart cities, Cradle 2 Cradle, Zero-Carbon and Green-Tech. The pavilion as ‘air generating station’ can act as a climate stabiliser and can be functionally integrated into urban areas at different scales worldwide. In cities suffering from bad air pollution, such fresh air spaces could form oases throughout the city. Austria demonstrates that hybrid systems of nature and technology can be ecologically successful.
The forest, consisting of twelve Austrian forest ecotypes, forms a unique atmospheric experience. The biodiversity of plants with more than 190 different species creates an intense interplay of light, air and fresh scents. Through technical assistance with fog and fine water jets a unique microclimate is created, creating an intense sensual experience for visitors. From the opening of the Milan Expo in early May onwards the visitors to the Austrian Pavilion can immerse themselves in the fresh atmosphere and can experience the performance of the forest with all their senses. More than 12,800 perennials, grasses and forest trees have been installed over three months in the highly complex engineered landscape. The first white spring ambassadors come out from under the leaves and the dandelions spread their seed. The smell of fresh moss and spruce floats in the air … the metabolism – the forest begins. Breathe in!
We all need clean air to breathe, for without it we can survive only a few minutes. The technological progress of recent decades has brought with it drastic environmental problems. In this Anthropocene age; the era in which man has become one of the most important factors influencing the biological, geological and atmospheric processes on Earth, air is an essential good to protect and promote the development of green technologies.
Energy independence and climate positive An important aspect of the pavilion is its energy neutrality, meaning that the pavilion generates as much energy as it consumes. The electrical energy needed to power the building infrastructure (water pumps, kitchen, lighting, etc.) is supplied by a photovoltaic system (PV) on the roof and a solar sculpture with ‘Grätzel-cells’ (dye solar cells), an innovative technology that can be seen for the first time in this form. The excess energy is fed into the Italian power grid. Through its climate and oxygen production the pavilion is climate positive.
breathe.austria - prototype for future urban practices
Slowly, were all beginning to realize that we are living in a world in which we are fundamentally influencing and changing the rhythms, dynamics and workings oft he natural world. We ourselves have become a force upon nature and have arrived in a new reality- we live in the age of the Anthropocene.
As the world climate is effected by human action, it is predicted that globally microclimates of cities will heat up for 2.5° till 2020 – with a huge impact on energy costs, health issues and urban ecology.
The implementation of „naturally performative components“ into the urban fabric, the creation of natural air-cooling, cleaning and oxygen producing architectures can effectively counteract these recent environmental tendencies. Climate itself thus becomes an effective design approach for future urban architectures.
In integrating “natural performance” into architectural typologies - our vision is to design buildings that are generating oxygen, cities that act climate-positive rather become heat-islands and than stuck on the level zero emission.
We are thus turning our attention to a development which is transforming the environment that surrounds us – into the instigator of massive social transformation, becoming a generative site and medium - an active agent within future urban developments.
Within this context, the prototype of breathe.austria shows off, how landscape and the environment, perceived as the seemingly passive background to that tendency, are elevated to the status of a protagonist The breathe pavilion demonstrates – that hybrid systems of nature and technology simultaneously can be economically, environmentally and ecologically successful. It connects the seemingly incompatible - technology and natural diversity - becoming ‘climate active’ as it is a source of fresh air and cool climate.
This system of a „natural climate machine“ can act functionally integrated in urban areas at different scales in various metropolitan areas worldwide.
The prototype breathe.austria thus aims to act as an intermediary which encourages discourses and ideas towards renewable energy, smart cities, Cradle 2 Cradle, Zero-Carbon and Green-Tech. It demonstrates the great potential and importance of communicating the interaction of technology and natural environments, which can inspire countless other projects.
terrain : architekten und landschaftsarchitekten BDA Klaus K. Loenhart with
Agency in Biosphere Markus Jeschaunig
Hohensinn Architektur ZT GmbH Karlheinz Boiger
LANDLAB, i_a&l, TU-Graz Andreas Goritschnig und Bernhard König
Lendlabor Graz Anna Resch und Lisa Enzenhofer
and Alexander Kellas
Engelsmann Peters Ingenieure Stefan Peters
transsolar Wolfgang Kessling, Martin Engelhardt
BOKU Wien IBLB Bernhard Scharf
photography: Simon Oberhofer, Marc Lins, Daniele Madia, Terrain