The 3D pavilion is made partly with bamboo, a fast-growing grass that is ubiquitous in Japan, and partly with wood. A sophisticated joining system that relies strictly on carved wood and no metal couplers holds the grid together. Called living construction, this design technique helps to render a building more resistant to major earth movements, which are common in Japan. Interestingly, the small island nation is taking advantage of Milan Expo to raise awareness of their post-Fukushima rebuilding efforts. Use of wood also represents Japan’s forest preservation strategies and satoyoma, natural woodlands that the Japanese are careful to protect–even in dense urban areas.
Related: Anti-Expo protests in Milan erupt in violence and clashes with police
Japan’s pavilion aims to strike the perfect balance between tradition and modernity, and a general sense of harmony, both aesthetic and ecological. Oriented lengthwise with a wide entrance and an exhibition area of 4,170 square meters (nearly 45,000 square feet), the wooden Utsuwa holds a series of exhibits showcasing Japan’s mesmerizing food culture with an emphasis on rice, raw fish and vegetables. If you’re in Italy, or planning to visit the Milan Expo some time between now and October, we definitely recommend that you check out some of our other live coverage.
Images via Mike Chino for Inhabitat