New Milan Trade Fair

New Milan Trade Fair is a great architectural project  for the territory. Its dimension renders it one of the major complex nowadays on building in Europe. It is part of the recovery of wide urban spaces, of the territory which goes beyond the borders of the city itself. Areas which aspire to become “geography”, landscape.

The abandoned areas and suburbs call for important interventions. The critical mass of the intervention, more than 2 millions squared meters and more than half million of construction, are the starting point. I thought about a unitary complex, of simple geometry. The project of the New Milan Trade Fair is characterized by the great central axis: the great transparent coverage modifies spaces and represents the continuity of the vision. The service centre, the offices, the convention area, are the fulcrum of the entire system: transition from honour “entrance” to central axis.

On the sides, the pavilions, with big facades made of reflecting metal (of more than 200 m. for the two-level pavilions), bring back the life and the images of the pathway.

The entrances are signal and event. Architecture is “contaminated” art: she lives of other universes, she observes modifications and changes, she attempts to synthetically represent what happens. Architecture is not only inspired by architecture, but she tends to comprehend and to talk to everyone. In a moment of very few “visions” looking to the future, and the mere running of quotidian life and of existence, this project seems to be part of the European more dynamic scenery. It exists a demand and a desire of architecture, of emotions.

This project is ambitious. It is addressed to future visitors, and, firstly, it tries to pay much attention to people who will work and spend their days inside the New Milan Trade Fair.

Our country resumes a route which has been interrupted for more than 30 years, thus putting under construction one of the most important international trade fair complex.

The design of the New Milan Trade Fair chooses to make the longitudinal connection axis its main generator, becoming a spine which gives structure to the entire complex. This space, the "central axis," represents the place of activities, the center of information, the place of crossing and at the same time of being. These concepts are developed through the positioning of a series of buildings alongside the main axis, having connections at level 0,00 and at footbridge level + 6.50.

The buildings host various types of functions; restaurants, meeting rooms, office spaces, receptions to connect the exhibition halls. The pathway stretches between two areas, the one of the East entrance and that of the West entrance, being the main accesses to the Trade Fair. The buildings along the central axis are suspended above diversely treated landscaped areas; water, green areas and concrete. The flanking stainless steel and glass facades of the exhibition halls becomes the scenography. Above the whole of this space extends the vast roofcovering – an undulating lightweight structure like a veil.

This veil, having a surface area exceeding 46000 sqm, is over 1300 m in length, has a width of approximately 32 m, and is bordered by the pavilion façade-line for the entire length of the central axis.

Constituted from a reticular rhomboidal mesh structure in pre-finished steel profiles, it is connected via spherical nodes and covered with laminated glass fixed through plates to the profiles below. The structural mesh utilises modules of 2.7m x 2.25m to obtain one constant width along the central axis of 31.57m and on the east and the west entrances a width of 40.59m. Its height varies from +16 m. to around +23 m. There occur over 32000 nodes of the mesh structure, giving 38929 rhomboid frames. The veil is supported by 183 steel columns of 500m diameter which then split to smaller supporting arms above the 12m height.

The form of the veil is derived from constant altimetric variations just as they are found in the natural landscape such as "craters", "waves", "dunes", "hills". As a natural landscape the shape is never repetitive, giving the visitor an animating, continuously varying perspective.

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