With over 70 million visitors, in 2010 the Shanghai World Expo focused on themes of sustainable urbanization and responsible architecture.
Within this important Universal Exposition, mOa – Mario Occhiuto architecture – created the exhibition halls for the Urban Best Practices area, a theme area at the Expo dedicated exclusively to experiences within cities and possible solutions to urban sustainability issues.
Occhiuto’s design, winner of an international competition, focuses on one hand on recovering the original form and structure of the former industrial buildings while transforming them into exhibition halls, and on the other, the construction of a new building, C1, supplying services to the entire Urban Best Practices area. Occhiuto transformed the industrial product into a sustainable exhibition space, capable of expressing new approaches to the human environment according to the exhibition’s slogan, Better city, better life, creating an innovative exterior envelope that makes it possible to combine climate and lighting requirements with architectural motifs.
Inspired by the time-honoured tradition of crushed terracotta as used in Pompeii and in early Christian churches, the cladding uniformly covers the façades of existing volumes, with 5,500 square metres of large slabs of engineered terracotta tiles, each measuring 120 x 120 cm. With a high degree of perforation, the cladding also optimizes lighting and vision.
The material used for the cladding was the result of a collaboration between Stone Italiana (Verona) and Sannini Impruneta (Florence), creating and patenting Cottostone. This is a product that, made using highly sophisticated engineered quartz technology applied to a mix of quartz and pure crushed terracotta, makes it possible to reproduce natural Pompeian terracotta, in sizes and with specifications of strength that do not exist in nature.