In 2018, Barilla launched a call for a visitor center on their Italian factory campus. We believe that, like the haylofts or granaries one might see in the surrounding fields, the pavilion for Barilla must have a direct and iconic form that responds to its industrial and agricultural context. A simple form that, while developed in response to an original program of specific uses, can be adapted equally well to unanticipated future demands, with spaces and functions added, removed or altered as required. We therefore propose a strong, singular gesture, carved into the landscape and uniting the diverse functions of the pavilion under one elongated roof. This roof subtly morphs between two elemental and symbolic geometries – that of the House to the East and that of the rectangular Factory to the West. In so doing, our Barilla pavilion combines the domestic familiarity of the home and the utility of the factory.
Functionally, the pavilion is comprised of two parallel bars of program. The larger, primary bar contains the main public spaces, while the smaller, secondary bar contains the consolidated support functions and flexible use spaces. As this secondary bar requires little or no natural daylight, it is fully buried within the
hillside landscape. This configuration allows for public spaces that are free of any obstructions or back-of-house functions, creating a totally open, fully flexible space.
The pavilion’s holistic view of sustainability takes into account not only the design, construction process and materials, and the pavilion’s operation and maintenance, but also its long-term viability. This starts
with how the building is located on its site—lengthwise along an East-West axis, with its South facade and roof fully covered and insulated with a blanket of soil and crops. The building materials are renewable, robust and tactile, including wood, straw, and the site’s own soil. The interior structure and cladding of the pavilion are composed of sustainably and locally-sourced wood, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Earth excavated from the foundations is re-used to form the landscape berms and green roof, and also compacted to create a rammed-earth façade—a mineral and stratified expression that is at once archaic and compelling. This thick facade will provide the thermal mass required to heat and cool the building minimally. And to be truly sustainable in the long run, the pavilion is designed to anticipate and allow for future changes in its interior layout and programming, thus extending its utility and lifespan.
In collaboration with Gabriel Fain Architects.