EXPO Holarchies
Project info

"A holarchy, in the terminology of Arthur Koestler, is a connection between holons, where a holon is both a part and a whole. The term was coined in Koestler's 1967 book The Ghost in the Machine.
Holarchy is commonly referred to as a form of hierarchy; however, hierarchy, by its definition, has both an absolute top and bottom. But this is not logically possible in a holon, as it is both a whole and a part. The "hierarchical relationship" between holons at different levels can just as meaningfully be described with terms like "in and out", as they can with "up and down" or "left and right"; perhaps more generally, one can say that holons at one level are "made up of, or make up" the holons or parts of another level. This can be demonstrated in the holarchic relationship (subatomic particles ↔ atoms ↔ molecules ↔ macromolecules ↔ organelles ↔ cells ↔ tissues ↔ organs ↔ organisms ↔ communities ↔ societies) where each holon is a "level" of organization, and all are ultimately descriptive of the same set (e.g., a particular collection of matter). The top can be a bottom, a bottom can be a top, and, like a fractal, the patterns evident at one level can be similar to those at another.”

Contemporary architecture, especially the one described by architectural critic Charles Jencks as ‘Cosmogenic’, uses such design concepts to explore new frontiers in form, functionality, organisation as well as structure, construction details and decoration.
This photographic collection showcases architectural details and patterns from the EXPO Milano 2015.

The theme of the Expo 2015 in Milan is ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’. This embraces technology, innovation, culture, traditions, and creativity and how they relate to food and diet. Within this broad theme, seven sub-themes were proposed: 1. Science for food safety, security and quality, 2. Innovation in the agro food supply chain, 3. Technology for agriculture and biodiversity, 4. Dietary education, 5. Solidarity and cooperation on Food, 6. Food and better lifestyles, 7. Food in the world’s cultures and ethnic groups. All participating countries were asked to address the problems and opportunities opening up for the agriculture sector in the fields of sustainable development, common well-being and the fight against hunger.
This six-months global showcase of more than 140 participating countries is estimated to attract 20 million visitors to its 1.1 million sq.m. of exhibition areas and 7,000 events. The site is located near the RHO PERO area, 9 km. north-west of the city centre. An investment of more than 4 billion Euros was estimated for the project (which run up to 13 billion eventually), that, in 5 years will give job to 40,000 people and the participation of 36,000 volunteers.

In his essay about the history of World Fairs, 'Belief in the Future', Aldo Castellano notes "The most significant change (in the basic nature of these trade fairs) is perhaps in the spirit of competition between individual exhibitors from participating countries." In the early days of modernity, competition was considered a positive and effective way of encouraging the production of quality products. Although, in the following decades studies by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on food quality and agricultural surpluses, have demonstrated the degredation of current food production practices and the need to move beyond the competitive paradigm.
World Expositions are about many things: showcasing and exchanging ideas in innovation and technology, networking and outreaching among countries and organisations, a celebration of cultures and traditions, an opportunity to reflect upon our state of being and becoming. As with everything else in life, the initial concepts are charged with lofty goals and as time passes, the become not less or more but simply a mirror, a condensed microcosmos mirroring our collective reality.

The visit took place between the 5th and 14th of May. I would like to thank The Danish Architecture Centre for supporting this project, Jakob Hybel for his editorial help, Giordana Zagami from HK Strategies for providing additional information, Paola Di Marzo and Massimiliano at the Italian Pavilion press office, Roberta Riccio at the Swiss Pavilion press office, Elena Pagano at the German Pavilion press office, Fulvia Zimmitti for the hospitality, and Panos Bazos for his invaluable and continuous support. Images from this project have received two honorable mentions from the International Photography Awards 2015, and 'Best Picture of the Year 2015' from the Interior Design Magazine.

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