Vo Trong Nghia Architects designed the Vietnamese pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo, with BMS Progetti in charge for the structural and MEP design.
The two-storey exhibition space is made of a parallelepiped of approximately 28×11 meters area and about 7 meters tall. It is made entirely of steel structures on a reinforced concrete slab, and externally enclosed by curtain walls, to provide a continuous communication between inside and outside. The pillars that fall within the volume act as roofing support, while the external ones, falling within the surrounding water pond, will be free and surmounted, like the others, by vessels suitable for containing the roots for a forest of 46 trees, each 2 – 3 meters high. All the 25 pillars, soaring at various heights above the roofing, are clad with a flared coating in bamboo canes. The lightweight bamboo elements are prefabricated, allowing the pavilion to be easily disassembled and recycled once the expo is over, and are provided by a specialized company with experience in Vietnam.
The trees provide the visual and emotional impact to the visitors and also drop the shadows on the building in order to block the solar radiation, while the ‘Lotus Pond’ that permeates the building’s floor provides a cool microclimate inside the pavilion. In addition, the trees further create a refreshing breeze along with the pool, to enable energy-saving operation of the building while providing a comfortable place in the surrounding area. A folding screen provides protection from the elements on cooler days, however on warm days the screen can be removed, and the pavilion can be cooled by the breeze. Stepping stones shaped like lotus leaves guide visitors towards the entrance, while screen walls around the perimeter fold back to bring natural ventilation into the exhibition areas.