Theme: Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life
B.I.E. Category: Registered
Duration: 6 months (180 days)
Operating Season: 1 May to 31 October 2015.

For Expo 2015, Gordon Linden was initially appointed Technical Advisor to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during their early stages of planning to participate with a major self-built pavilion. Following the Kingdom’s success with the highly popular KSA pavilion in Shanghai, expectations were high for the country to repeat the effort with another major international pavilion in Milan. As various studies and preliminary designs were undertaken, including a stunning proposal by Zaha Hadid Architects, cost estimates placed the overall costs of participation substantially beyond budget and the KSA participation was cancelled.

Linden and researcher Cheryl Stanton attended the opening days of the event accompanied by Barry Howard, whose Expo exhibit design credentials extend back to the New York 1964-65 World’s Fair. Meetings were held with numerous Expo and pavilion staff including the Commissioner General of the U.S. Pavilion, Doug Hickey, and BIE Secretary General, Vicente Loscertales, to gain insight as to the particular challenges and achievements of this latest edition of the largest of the International Exposition formats, the Registered Expo. Although public reaction to the event was initially clouded by management and other controversies, the chosen theme – food – proved to be a major success with visitors partaking of cuisines from throughout the world, including that of the world famous Italian kitchen.

During the run of the Expo, Linden was tasked by Organizers of the forthcoming Expo 2020 Dubai, with carrying out a visit to Expo 2015 accompanied by technical consultants engaged by Expo 2020 in the development of a Master Plan. The initial Master Plan, as included in the bid, was at odds with a number of important Expo site planning criteria including number and type of gates, transportation services, and provision for developing countries. The Milan site provided ample evidence of the need to consider these aspects of the Plan and, in short order, modifications to the Master Plan were made. As an example, the design and location of the so-called “Clusters” at Milan which were the Organizer-built pavilions which were occupied by developing countries proved problematic in attracting visitors from the main axes of the site with many participants attracting few visitors due to poor sight lines and wayfinding to the individual structures.