12,000 trees, some of which will reach heights of 10-12 meters, 85,300 shrubs, 107,600 aquatic plants and 151,700 wild plants make the exhibition site of Expo Milano 2015, which extends to Rho Pero for an additional 1.1 million square meters. It is the construction of Europe’s largest landscape: more than 200,000 square meters will be devoted to landscaping projects through the creation of a network of green spaces and places that can be used to transform and define the territory.
The project was presented this afternoon by landscape architect and Professor of Architectural Design at the University of Las Palmas (Gran Canaria) and President of Uniscape Juan Manuel Palerm Salazar along with doctor of forest science, landscape designer and team leader for Expo Green, Benedetto Selleri and landscape architect and professor of Landscape Architecture at the Sapienza University of Rome, Franco Zagari.
“The commitment we have given to the development of a landscape project of this magnitude and complexity has made possible the creation of an extraordinary professional team made up of experts, researchers, architects and horticulturalists- said Giuseppe Sala, Sole Commissioner of the Government for Expo Milano 2015 - and it is absolutely in harmony with the theme of the Universal Exposition, Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life. The big “green lung” that we are building will contribute to the improvement of the microclimate, enhance the landscape and increase biodiversity by helping to make visiting the Universal Exhibition an unforgettable experience at the for the public.”
The objective of this major project is to tell the story of different landscapes that characterize the natural territory and Italian agricultural and are making up a green filter between the exhibition space and the outside. There is the green outer ring (an area of 80,000 square meters) consisting of a wooded strip that will define the perimeter of the site; inside of the exhibition island there will be other types of greenery representing three different variations of characteristic of more urban landscapes, including the Hortus (8 gardens - with pergolas and seats - for visitors’ to relax within an area of 27,000 square meters), the Large Piazzas (3 large open spaces - the West Entrance where there will also be a Butterfly Garden, Waterways Gate, Piazza of the Lake - located at strategic points of entry to the site), the Small Piazzas (25 smaller open spaces, of various shapes, located near service areas and dining options, each named for a tree species that characterizes the space, for example, Piazza of Pears, Lime Trees, Mulberry Trees, Oaks, Sycamores and White Poplars ); the Mediterranean Hill offers terraces and paths populated by olive groves, citrus, mixed oaks and grapevines.
In addition, installations in regards to the green areas and the architecture are linked to each each other (such as seating, pergolas, flooring) and they have been designed taking into account the reversibility of the works that will be disassembled and able to be reused at the close of the Universal Exhibition.
All of the vegetation was chosen in advance, starting from the beginning of the work, and aims for maximum quality required from the nurseries selected from the regions of Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia and Tuscany. Thanks to the contracts for the supply and cultivation of the plants and the use of special systems for gardening, we are able to achieve the standards of quality and size required by the project.
Approximately 90 percent of the trees will be grown and transported by air pot, a reusable vase made of a special recyclable plastic that actively increases the quality of the root systems of plants by eliminating root binding: thus reducing the growing time on the nursery, optimizing the transplantation phase and the health of the plants.
After a preliminary phase developed in-house by the team of Expo 2015 S.p.A., the landscaping project was curated by Benedetto Selleri of PAN Associates along with Franco Zagari for the design of the Hortus project with the overall coordination by Metropolitana Milanese.