The State Department has chosen a group to design, build, and operate the U.S. pavilion at the Milan Expo 2015. The theme of the Expo is "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”; the U.S. pavilion will focus on American food production, says its architect, James Biber, who runs a small firm in Manhattan’s Woolworth Building.
Biber, who has designed several restaurants, including New York’s venerable Gotham Bar and Grill, says the site plan for the Expo (created by, among others, Jacques Herzog of Herzog & de Meuron) is “the most urban” he has ever seen: lots are only 20 meters wide, but more than 100 meters deep, turning the pavilions into oversized rowhouses. “It’s terrible if you want to build a blob,” he says, referring to the “object buildings” associated with past expos, but good for visitors who want to see numerous pavilions in a day. Biber says that he is determined to avoid the “oddly shaped dark boxes with video screens inside” that so many countries opt for, in favor of a pavilion that is as open, airy, transparent, and accessible as possible.