austrian pavilion EXPO Milano 2015

With its contribution for the 2015 Expo in Milan, Austria draws international attention to the number-one foodstuff and important resource: AIR. Air quality counts as one of Austria’s most important characteristics. By international comparison, it is very high and can be seen as a potential for identification with our country. Air, climate and atmosphere unite the whole earth. They are foodstuffs, carriers of information, energy producers, and resources. The Austrian contribution “breathe” therefore focuses on the country’s natural and technological expertise as well as on future issues regarding our handling of air and climate as essential foodstuffs the world over.

the pavilion 
„When you take a breath, you touch a part of the planet, with the inside of your body“ (Olafur Eliasson)

The Austrian pavilion in Milan combines buildings and the environment to create an integrated contribution: by planting an extensive area of forest of 560m2, the contribution “breathe” is a complex symbolic placement that can be experienced with the senses, with the focus on our relationship to the environment and the climate. The vegetation of the piece of woodland has a total leaf surface and evaporation surface of approximately 43,200m2, thus generating 62.5kg of fresh oxygen per hour – the volume required by 1800 people; a “photosynthesis collector”, then, that contributes to global oxygen production. This effect is  assisted technically in the pavilion by evaporation cooling, albeit without any air-conditioning equipment. In this way it is possible, with relatively natural measures, to emulate the perceived climate of a dense forest in Austria based on the cooling effect of the plants’ evapotranspiration. The result differs distinctly from the air and climate found in Milan at various sensory levels, and can thus be experienced.

“breathe” is a natural cycle whose ecological performance is to the fore: one hundred per cent forest planting is a model contribution for urban modes of action as the integral use of landscape can supply sufficient oxygen and cooling air to urban life-forms, thus drawing attention to Austria’s sustainable afforestation policy or, inversely, to the global decline of vital tree stocks. As such, it serves not only as a formal resource for the comprehensive leitmotif ‘Air and Climate in the 21st Century’, but also as a space for artistic and scientific intervention and experimentation on the subject. Encouraged by their senses, visitors to the Austrian pavilion  embark on a sensory, scientific and artistic voyage of discovery that depicts air as an essential foodstuff. Space, experience and the exhibition flow into one another. The six-month duration of the show allows visitors to experience air as a tangible commons, offering a space for networking that conveys and generates knowledge.

“Air for breathing is the most important raw material on earth” “Every breath connects me with the entire world” “Without air you wouldn’t survive five minutes”, “A person inhales thousands of cubic metres of air every year, emitting hundreds of kilogrammes of carbon dioxide” “The pavilion produces oxygen for 1800 people per hour” “The air from the pavilion will stay in my lungs for two years. I’ll have to go to Austria by then at the latest”

The interdisciplinary team.breathe.austria was founded by people teaching at the Department for Architecture and Landscape of Graz University of Technology.
In the teaching context, the authors deal with future processes and the consequences of real ecological, energetic and social changes of our environment. There will be challenges that need to be mastered, but the future scenario also gives us the unique opportunity to explore the scope of action with creativity, to develop a new, “cultural ecology”.


idea / conception – competition team

TEAM.BREATHE.AUSTRIA. (alphabetical order)
Agency in Biosphere  Markus Jeschaunig 
Hohensinn Architektur - Karlheinz Boiger 
LandLab /Ia&l TU Graz  - Andreas Goritschnig und Bernhard König
Lendlabor- Anna Resch und Lisa Maria Enzenhofer
terrain : landscape urbanism BDA - Klaus K. Loenhart
Maren Richter, Engelsmann Peters - Stefan Peters, transsolar - Wolfgang Kessling, BOKU IBLB Bernhard Scharf

design / realization
terrain : landscape urbanism BDA, Graz – Klaus K. Loenhart
in cooperation with
Agency in Biosphere, Graz – Markus Jeschaunig
Hohensinn Architektur, Graz – Karlheinz Boiger
TU Graz Institute for Architecture and Landscape/ LandLab – Andreas Goritschnig und Bernhard König
Lendlabor, Graz – Anna Resch und Lisa Maria Enzenhofer
Exhibition concept: Maren Richter, Linz (u.a. Co-Curator of the Malediven Pavillon/55. Venice Biennale 2013, Art director Regionale 12)
Climate engineering: Transsolar Energietechnik, München – Wolfgang Kessling (Donau University Krems)
Vegtation engineering: Dr. Bernhard Scharf, Wien (BOKU Institute of Soil Bioengineering and Landscape Construction /IBLB)
Structural design: Engelsmann Peters Beratende Ingenieure, Graz / Stuttgart
Stefan Peters (TU Graz – Institut für Tragwerksentwurf)