Project data
Client: Ramboll UK
Architects: Studio Daniel Libeskind
Completion: 2015
Value: Confidential

Engineering services provided
Facades engineering
Structural engineering

The team
Alberto Ferrari
Steve Alemanno
Monica Perina
Matteo Ferrari
Paolo Franco

The Vanke Pavilion façade comprised hundreds of ceramic tiles that create this uniquely shaped building and was engineered using advanced coding techniques to deliver simplified construction and enable the unique.

The Vanke Pavilion is the centrepiece at the 2015 Milan Expo which expects over 20 million visitors. With an area of ​​1,000 square metres, the Vanke Pavilion is located just north of the main Expo axis, near the Lake Arena and Piazza Italia.

The Pavilion was designed by architects Studio Daniel Libeskind for the Chinese residential real estate giant, Vanke. We worked together with Ramboll teams on this ambitious structure.

In order to rationalise construction of the steel frame structure, the Ramboll team developed an approach which used parametric modelling and coding techniques to digitally slice and analyse the pavilions structural design. Taking their inspiration from ship-building techniques, the RCD experts identified 25 unique structural shapes required to construct the building, allowing them to deliver a rational material response to an irregular structure.

Once structural complexities were addressed, the next big challenge was providing panelling geometry for the building’s façade. The surface required hundreds of ceramic tiles in different shapes and sizes, covering the unique structural shape, which would have been a substantial and complex bespoke job. The complex tile pattern was thus optimised to achieve a 95% uniformity in the tile shape and returned to us to complete the remaining codes, details and structural design.

The corporate pavilion will be three to four storeys tall, containing a bamboo structure and Chinese artworks that explore the Milan Expo theme of ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’. Post Expo the pavilion will be dismantled and rebuilt in China, again echoing the sustainability theme of the Italian exposition.