RecchiEngineering and Carlo Ratti Associati recently won an international competition to design Holland’s 17,000 square foot pavilion for the 2015 World Expo in Milan. The design, which is called Earth Screening, was chosen by New Holland Agriculture, one of the world’s top manufacturers of agricultural machinery. It features a large agricultural field on its roof that is constantly tended by a pair of self-driving tractors.

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The two tractors, which will be zero-emission and use energy generated on-site, will constantly move over the roof, “writing” and working the land. “The idea of EARTH SCREENING is not just about self-driving tractors, which can draw patterns on the roof of the building. It is about how we can sense and respond to the conditions of the soil to a degree that was impossible before … with major advantages foreseen in terms of plant biodiversity and resource preservation,” says professor Carlo Ratti, partner at Carlo Ratti Associati and director of the MIT Senseable City Lab.

Inside the pavilion, visitors will be exposed to “augmented rurality,” a cleverly named aspect of the building that involves large screens playing dynamic footage from fields across the world coupled with static agricultural equipment. This experience takes visitors on a journey that closely mirrors the seasons and cultivation cycles, teaching them about energy and sustainable farming in the process. “While the roof uses real moving tractors, inside the pavilion we tried to reproduce the working conditions of other key pieces of agricultural equipment – from tractors to combine harvesters – in a physical and digital way,” says Walter Nicolino, architect at Carlo Ratti Associati.

EXPO Milano 2015 will be a global event focused on the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”, with over 130 participant countries and an expected 20 million visitors. New Holland Agriculture is a global partner of EXPO Milano 2015, and this year’s theme resonates strongly with their commitment to sustainable farming.

+ Carlo Ratti Associati

Images by Carlo Ratti Associati