Standing on a central courtyard and characterised by an open and dynamic form, the Barilla Grain Pavilion creates an intentional contrast to the otherwise hard, closed architecture of the surrounding area. Rising seamlessly from the ground, the new Pavilion creates a transition between the factory on one side and the landscape on the other.
The layout of the curved building follows the well-known classical architectural typology: the courtyard, atrium or arena, creating an authentic space that is rational, functional and symbolic. The larger ellipse defines the external envelope of the building and the smaller ellipse the inner courtyard, which is open to the sky and further illuminated by the openness and transparency of the surrounding building. In the centre, a sunken amphitheatre and water feature provide the focus.
At its lowest point the ring so formed touches the earth, creating the main entry to the inner courtyard and at the same time access to the roof garden. The way the structure rises on both sides of the entrance creates a sound barrier on the motorway side and protects against the wind. The building forms a gentle but powerful inclined plane that extends the landscape across the entire surface of the roof. The primary functions of the program are arranged around the central courtyard below the sloping roof garden, grouping multiple departments within a single envelope. The roof garden, which is in fact a working small-holding that supplies the Sapori Barilla and shop with vegetables and herbs, is laid out in formal concentric segments that mirror the scheme’s overall aesthetic. It is maintained primarily by members of staff, giving them direct experience of the benefits of gardening and their relationship to productivity at work in return for a share of the produce. Sustainability plays an essential role throughout the design and the green roof facilitates rainwater harvesting.
The summit of the Pavilion provides stunning views of the surrounding landscape and Barilla campus, while its form embraces and enhances the existing landscape. Its strong, supple structure, visible from afar, encourages visitors to come on in and experience the pure, wholesome nature of the Barilla brand.
The roof can be turned into a dress circle in the event of performances in the inner courtyard. Skylights are fitted throughout the roof both to give visitors a peek from above at activities inside the building and to enhance the natural lighting of the rooms below.
The comforts of the central courtyard relating to air, light, privacy, security and tranquillity create a unique space for social interactions, encouraging cohesion between staff, guests and members of the public within a natural, symbiotic environment. The courtyard unifies the different aspects of the program creating an additional layer of functional dialogue within the building. Appropriate functional separation is achieved by placing all visitor entrances to the various elements of the program along the inner courtyard wall and all and staff and trade entrances around the outer wall of the envelope.