Barilla Community Forum
Cultural | Exhibition Center
Parma | Italy
2018 | Barilla Pavilion International Competition

With a community space, the Piazzi di Mondo, as its core element, the design is a singular composition formed by an undulating superstructure that interacts with the landscape and varies its form to modulate natural light, employ sustainable strategies and support a myriad of programs.

The design for the “Barilla Community Forum” combines ideas found in unparalleled historic examples of public space and becomes a place for people to meet, have dialogue and share ideas. Paramount to the development of the design concept is the gathering area at its center, the Piazza di Mondo, which houses a circular community table that can seat three hundred guests and affords uses which vary from educational activities to performances and even regional farmers markets. Echoing the center’s food-based educational and research efforts, the design necessitates direct engagement with the land and adopts a topographic strategy as architectural driver. Part earthwork and part superstructure, the low-slung form aids in sustainable functions – it supports a large array of solar panels, offers complete daylight modulation, affords rainwater collection through green-roof filtration and acts as thermal mass.

Beyond the uses stated in the plans, our hope is that the organization of the design will also inspire future spatial experimentation and enrichment. Because the program is not meant to be absolute defined, there is inherent flexibility in the sizes and types of spaces created. The pitched structural frame works in concert with vertically aligned program, creating voids between the two. These liminal spaces allow possibilities of a projective programmatic nature: expansion of interior use both horizontally and vertically, exterior space and greenhouse space for research, informal meeting pads, area for sustainable enhancements and technology, augmented circulation, semi-private indoor and outdoor work spaces, dining areas, and informal classrooms. Ultimately, this is to be a center for research and education as well as a generator for global invention.

Project Size: 150,000SF
Site: Barilla Company Headquarters
Project Team: Christopher Warren, Principal; Carmelia Chiang