The Middle East has been causing a stir at Expo Milan 2015 with beautifully designed, sustainably focused pavilions. The Kingdom of Bahrain’s Pavilion, Archeologies of Green, has drawn headlines, for all the right reasons. The pavilion is a poetic interpretation of the cultural agrarian heritage of the country, which stems from the ancient civilisation of Dilmun.
Built from white prefabricated concrete panels, the pavilion will be moved to Bahrain at the end of the Expo and once rebuilt will serve as a botanical garden. The prefabricated components of the buildings, visible through the seams that connect them to one another, loosely refer to the inherent and distinguished forms of the archaeology of Bahrain.
Bahrain Pavilion, Milan, 2015
Designed by Studio Anne Holtrop of The Netherlands, in collaboration with landscape architect Anouk Vogel, Bahrain’s pavilion is conceived as a succession of walled fruit gardens, intersected by roofed exhibition spaces, and a café. The forms are loosely inspired by those found in the archaeological ruins of the temple of Barbar in Bahrain, the temple built for Enki, the god of sweet water, that consequently permitted the development of a lush vegetation and agriculture in an otherwise arid region. The resulting plan of the pavilion is an abstract geometric drawing, of arcs and straight lines that creates a richness of spatial experiences within the defined boundaries of the walled perimeter.
The architecture and landscape are conceived as one interconnected entity that forms a whole, evoking the typical suburban landscapes of Bahrain. Made of 350 different pieces of white prefabricated concrete that follow the geometry of the drawing, the pavilion has been designed from its onset to be dismantled and transported to Bahrain. The concrete elements are assembled to one another through dry-joints, stacked one on top of the other, and finished with brass fittings. At the end of the Expo, the elements will be dismantled, and shipped to Bahrain where they will be reassembled to serve as a botanical garden displaying the agrarian heritage of the country.