Concept proposal for a new Barilla visitor center in Parma, Italy.

From Technology to Nature and vice versa.

Our aim is to enhance Barilla’s vision to preserve the precious resources of our planet by creating a new temple for food – a fortress of biodiversity. We want to preserve food culture in both physical and symbolical terms.

The new pavilion will offer a wide range of activities for visitors and the local community. It will be a factory of visionary concepts in the field of natural resources as well as a library of seeds, a futuristic landscape, and an ever-changing building. The main activities that we would like to promote are the preservation of agricultural biodiversity, the experimentation of new ways of growing, cooking and conceiving food, and the synergies that can be created between the local and the global identity of Barilla.

Overall, the main goal is to challenge people’s idea about the relationship between nature and technology. Indeed, these two elements are not necessarily opposed, but they can enhance and complement each other. With this idea of ‘fertile technology’, we would like to translate into architecture the fundamental paradigm shift in the food industry that Barilla is undertaking towards a sustainable future.

The silo as modern column

As traces from the past, silos are omnipresent in our post-industrial landscapes. They can be seen as a physical manifestation of a highly functional thinking. Standing shiny and still in semi-rural landscapes, the silos are the formal columns of contemporary temples. Like the columns of ancient monuments, they are fundamental elements of an entire system of architectural form. Whereas classical columns are part and metaphor of their age, so does the silos stand for the industrial culture in general.

Aggregated Landmark

Silos are highly articulated objects with a strong formal character. Their strength arises from the geometrical simplicity of their parts and volumetric versatility of their aggregation. For the new pavilion, we aim at using the powerful imagery of the silos and benefit from their high recognition value. Extremely visible from far, silos often highlight focal points in the disperse territory of the countryside. This aspect, (keeping in mind the given limit of height (16.5m), has been an important starting point for our proposal. Instead of setting a landmark next to the existing Barilla campus we intend to create a recognizable building extension which pays homage to the culture of industry in this very context.

Future potential

Based on the silos as a source of inspiration, the project proposes a transformation from a container of goods into architectural space that can also keep and preserve ideas and knowledge. To achieve this goal, The upgraded silo of Silo introduces extensive spaces for laboratories, start-ups and events which allow Barilla to cultivate innovative concepts that can help to build sustainable models for the food industry.