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Germany breaks ground for Milan Expo pavilion

Becomes first country to begin construction on site

04 April, 15:09
Germany breaks ground for Milan Expo pavilion (By Emily Backus) (ANSA) - Milan, April 4 - Germany began digging the foundation of its Milan Expo 2015 pavilion this week, marking the first of the world fair's 147 participants to break ground on site, an area of more than 100 hectares near Milan's massive Rho Pero trade fair exhibition centre.

Milan Expo Commissioner Giuseppe Sala and the German project chief Dietmar Schmitz placed the symbolic "first stone" at the ground-breaking ceremony on Wednesday. Schmitz is the director of trade-fair policy for the German economy and technology ministry, as well as general commissioner for the German pavilion at Milan Expo 2015.

The Universal Exposition, which takes place next year from May 31 to October 31, is themed "Feeding the planet. Energy for life", and is tackling issues such as food security, hunger, and promoting environmentally, socially, economically sustainable global food production practices. When Germany signed its participation contract in 2012, it was the second country to do so. The German pavilion will be one of the largest in the Expo, with a total of 4,913 square metres and 1,500 square metres of exhibition space. The pavilion will be 12 metres high and employ 175 people.

The theme of the German pavilion will be "Fields of Ideas" and inside, it will offer visitors a look at new German solutions for nutrition and food. The architectural project has the goal of transferring the image of a German countryside of fields and pastures into a physical structure, using traditional materials like local wood, but mixed with steel. There will be two itineraries for visitors: one dedicated to the discovery of Germany, and the other illustrating proposed solutions and innovations that address Expo's main theme.

"Expo is an opportunity for Europe and the world, for the political and social development of countries," said Schmitz.

"We have developed ideas about the proposed theme," said Schmitz. "Starting from today, the pavilion will be increasingly visible, and we believe that the work will be completed by April 16, 2015," Schmitz added.

Giuseppe Sala said Germany "has the biggest (exhibition space) after Italy".

"This is a great leap of faith that we must repay," Sala added.

Sala estimated that erecting the German pavilion will take about six to seven months.

"We need about three months for the construction and another three to four months for the internal furnishings," Sala said.

"Work will probably be concluded by the end of March 2015," Sala concluded. Sala also said on the margins of Wednesday's ceremony that although there will only be one Italy pavilion - a landmark and centrepiece for the world fair - there may be another pavilion for the Italian agri-food industry. "For the official announcement, I would wait a few days. On Sunday we will be in Verona at Vinitaly with Minister Martina and there will probably be some news". Maurizio Martina is Italy's agriculture, food and forest minister. China has already increased its presence in at Expo by ensuring the presence of two additional pavilions beyond the country pavilion, which will extend across 4,590 metres.