- Klaus K. Loenhart
This pavilion draws attention to an essential nutrient and one of our most precious resources: air. As fundamental components of the biosphere, air, climate and the atmosphere unite all living creatures on our planet.
It is conceptualized as a prototype to address possible future interaction between the natural environment and urban strategies by demonstrating the potential to hybridize natural AND technological performance. That is here nature is not only giving inspiration for the idea, but also takes part in a substantial way.
The central element is a dense biodiverse forest-patch in a newly applied systemic exchange with ‘Dry Mist Technology’ in order to create a breathing natural microclimate. With this oxygen and climate producing core, the pavilion becomes a “living climate machine” and the only building among the other pavilions on the site without conventional air conditioning.
The pavilion’s entire floor area is planted with 12 forest ecotypes, ranging from mosses and shrubs to towering 12-metre trees. In a natural, water-rich forest, cooling occurs through evapotranspiration, meaning the evaporation of water from flora and fauna as well as from the soil and water surface. At the pavilion, however, the evaporative cooling process is technically augmented. While the pavilion surface area is only 560 m2, thermodynamic high-pressure misting nozzles with elevated air speed are used to activate the total evaporation surface of the pavilion vegetation, amounting to around 43,000 m2.
Despite its spatial confinement the pavilion succeeds in creating a unique micro climate: a pleasantly refreshing atmosphere. Visitors feel the difference in temperature and humidity on their skin. One can smell the fine scent of the forest. This delightful and subtle experience adds a sensory level – another layer to ones individual perception – pointing beyond the visual aesthetics of architectural discourse.
The effective interplay between nature and technology cools the interior space by 5 to 8.5° C and supplants conventional air conditioning entirely. The pavilion produces oxygen – enough for 1,303 visitors per hour.
It serves as a breathing “photosynthesis collector” that contributes to global oxygen production.
The combination of a photovoltaic system on the roof and a solar sculpture made of dye-sensitized solar cells provides all energy of the building’s infrastructure. Even a spillover of energy is fed into the local grid. Finally the building is not only climate-positive, but also energy-positive.
This pavilion is a model for future urban practices. Its conception demonstrates the great potential and importance of communicating the hybrid interaction of technology and natural environments, which can inspire countless other projects. It is a sensual, experiential site that connected the seemingly irreconcilable – technology and an ecological diverse environment – while having been climatically active.
With such an integral approach the designers attempt to initiate a paradigm shift for future urban practices and provide a living example of hybrid systems combining nature and technology can lead to ecological success.