breathe.austria @ EXPO Milan 2015


With ‘breathe’ Austria presents a pointed contribution on the of theme of “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” at the Expo Milano 2015. ‘breathe’ places nutrition at the forefront, as well as one of our most important resources at the center of international attention: AIR.

Not only is Austria’s air quality very high by world standards and one of the countries most important characteristics, but air, climate and atmosphere connect also the entire planet. They are considered nutrients, information carriers, energy producers and resources.

The Austrian pavillion ‚breathe‘ presents not only the natural and technical expertise of the country, but is also devoted to addressing future problems in dealing with these important raw materials. The Austrian forest planted at the Expo site acts as a sensual air and climate experience in a former industrial area in north-west Milan.



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‘A pavilion that performs like a forest!’

In the center of the pavilion there is a 560 m2 large forest vegetation area, which merges architecture, nature, culture and research into a sensual experience and produces an intense forest climate which generates clean, oxygen-rich air.




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 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.

An Open Source ‚air generating station’

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. Austria demonstrates that hybrid systems of nature and technology can be ecologically successful.

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.

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.

Encounter Innovative Austria

Austrian technologies, know-how and cusine all have a presence in the pavilion. The spectrum ranges from innovative solar technology to vegetation, from climate- and sound-design to Austria’s most innovative forest cuisine. Based on traditional Austrian dishes several top chefs from Koch.Campus have created “dishes, that are based on typical food from the forest” say chefs Heinz Reitbauer junior. (Steirereck, Vienna), Helmut and Philip Rachinger (Mühltalhof, Neufelden), Thomas Dorfer and Tobias Wussler (Landhaus Bacher, Mautern) and Harald Irka (Saziani Stubn).

Dishes such as ‚wood flour bread with spruce tops-butter‘, ‚wild pine cones‘ and ‚forest-magnum”, a forest-honey ice-cream with cranberry cream, wrapped in dark chocolate and roasted hazelnuts are spoiling the visitors in the Bar d’atmosfera and in the VIP area.