Shanghai Expo 2010 Italian Pavilion - Obicua

Obicua S.r.l
P.IVA 13118391005

Shanghai Expo 2010 Italian Pavilion

The Italian model and style through an architectural design inspired by the authentic expression of the Italian city : “The layered historical city”.

“Better city for better Life” is the theme of the competition. The project proposal, 3rd prize winner, presents the Italian model and style through an architectural design inspired by the authentic expression of Italian cities: “the layered historical city. It is deeply rooted in the history, the stratification of its urban pattern is made by the course of time, from house to house, from generation to generation, letting the temporal stratification linking the way people live the city to the physical dimension of the city. The Italian square is an irreplaceable space, imposes itself as a place of staying, of experience and of the art event; square as a “spatial- historical occasion.” The Italian pavilion in Shanghai is the representation of this “spatial-historical occasion”, which, despite all, still produces and refines excellence; it is a prototype that expresses the “layering” of the Italian social and urban spirit and leads back to the idea of historical and economical continuity. This continuity is the premise of a correct use of new technologies which only this way can become “sustainable.” The guiding idea of the project is a discomposed involucre of a series of “stratigraphic” sheets evoking a temporal succession, a metaphor of the composition of the Italian urban pattern. The planimetric development of the pavilion is structured by twenty elements, as the Italian regions, interspersed with three “showcase” septa hosting the Made in Italy. The interior spaces are affected by this temporal succession and are organized between the plates as thematic routes on different levels where you can feel the history flowing. The building is developed around a square that is revealed to the visitor by penetrating passages formed by the distorted space between the septa, as the streets of the historical Italian city center that lead to the protected heart of the city: the square. From here everything is perceived materiality. Matter that protects, which is exposed, that filters and creates a psychological “local” landscape due to the effects of light and shadow. All sides are semi-open or half- closed and at the top the sheets continue their succession assuming a protective function from the heavy summer solar radiation. From this “intimate” place you have access to the various blocks; all the spaces “circulate” and overlook this place which has an ideal conformation to impose itself as a meeting and socializing space for visitors of different nationalities.


Location / Shanghai – CHINA

Year / 2009

Client / Foreign Ministry of Italy


Incarico / International competition – Third Prize winner

Area / 10.000 sqm

Project Team


Designers / BICUADRO architects Mechanical engineer: hydroingea srl