In 1997, the Italian office of the German architectural practice Studio GMP (Gerkan Marg & Partners) of Hamburg was awarded the commission for the design of a new Expo Centre by the Rimini Trade Fair Corporation.
Chronicle of a remarkable project
The construction of the Rimini Trade Fair was a remarkable event for Italy. Remarkable in that it was a public project that was designed, built and commissioned in little more than four years, and because innovative building techniques were used. The project also highlighted some difficulties experienced by Italian contractors in achieving structures which do not conform to conventional building methods. Several techniques regarded as standard in other European countries appeared exceptional in Italy. The project was also distinguished by the fact that everything was executed by a foreign architectural studio.
From the initial design ideas of Volkwin Marg, founding partner of Studio GMP, a layout took shape which reflects the evolution of trade fair projects carried out in Germany.
On the Rimini site, 12 pavilions have been built without internal supporting pillars, to facilitate exhibit preparation. The pavilions are arranged symmetrically around a central volume, accessible from the Via Emilia through a railway underpass. General facilities, such as the Congress Hall, restaurants, offices, etc. are arranged in the central volume, which is marked by high luminous tower.
The architectural language defers to the Italian building tradition
Volkwin Marg’s conviction was that large public spaces need a clear and easily comprehensible language, with abundant, generous voids on a par with the most important examples of traditional architecture. The link with tradition is pursued through the principles of axiality, symmetry and repetition and with the creation of spaces such as porches, courtyards, colonnades and vaulted areas enclosed by spectacular wooden roofing.
Photos: Courtesy Area