Villaggio Save The Children

Villaggio Save The Children

Argot ou La Maison Mobile

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Milan, Italy | View Map
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Argot ou La Maison Mobile

© Delfino Sisto Legnani
Product Spec Sheet

ElementBrandProduct Name
Top WindowsVELUX Commercial
Timber StructureLegnolandia s.r.l.
Green RoofLimonta Studio del Verde

Product Spec Sheet
Top Windows
Timber Structure
Green Roof

Villaggio Save The Children EXPO 2015 – Bekaa Lebanon

Argot ou La Maison Mobile as Architects


Expo 2015 has been the opportunity to design a temporary pavilion where we embedded in the building the possibility to rebuilt it elsewhere at the end of the international exhibition. 

The project interpreted the concepts of sustainability not only choosing materials and construction methodologies aware of bioclimatic aspects, but paying attention to the whole process, from design to construction, to dismantling and reconstruction, reusing 90% of the original materials, including the structure, the roof, the panels and windows, as well as all the screws used during construction. We wanted the project to be conceived as part of a circular economy system.


The Save the Children pavilion mimics an archetypal village, evoking the urban landscapes of the countries where the NGO operates. Our aim was to recreate the same atmosphere - albeit on a smaller scale - of remote places. The project is articulated as a village, populated by seven small volumes, with pitched roofs equipped with skylight to allow natural ventilation, allowing us to avoid expensive HVAC systems. Distinct volumes, formally similar but different in size, are placed according to an open scheme, creating continuity with the external space. The small pavilions have the function of welcoming, accompanying, guiding and entertaining the visitors. 

Designing a structure that could perform several functions and be reused with an undetermined function was a crucial aspect in the design. Moreover, for its construction we chose a contractor that had the same driving principles of the project: make use of renewable materials, produced and transformed with renewable energy. 

The company in charge of structure system (Legnolandia srl) is a company that for its unique prerogatives has been awarded the Green Flag by Legambiente. As a matter of fact, Legnolandia uses only PEFC certified wood from the Friuli Venezia Giulia forests and uses only energy derived from renewable sources (Hydroelectric, Photovoltaic, Biomass) in its transformation plants. In particular, in this construction they used only tree species from forests nearby, namely Silver Fir. This tree is widely recognised as the most ecological tree in Europe, since it contributes to the formation of healthy and variated forests, where biodiversity of the species is guaranteed. The complete process of transformation of Siver Fir trees is fueled with low energy consumption and supported by renewable sources, to limit toxic gases from fossil fuels. 

During the process we opted for self-construction for the bamboo panels of the façade, together with a group of unaccompanied immigrant children welcomed by Save The Children in Milan. The participated workshop became an intense opportunity to research alternative constructive techniques and to provide a new knowledge to a group of young people.

The decision to create a constellation of small pavilions comes from a predetermined strategy, where the pavilion had to adapt to changing needs and other places, without imposing itself but in dialogue with the context. 

The collaboration between Save The Children Onlus Italy, AOUMM and Catalytic Action (no-profit) brought the project to Lebanon within a Syrian refugee camp to be re-adapted as a school for refugee children. The flexibility given by the design allowed to redistribute the pavilions in a new configuration adapting itself to the limited context of the field. The type section designed to allow spaces of about 25 square meters each and a large classroom of 81 square meters are today classrooms for 300 pupils. The construction system will still allow the school to be rebuilt elsewhere at the end of the war.

Save the Children village Expo Milano 2015

iGuzzini as Manufacturers

Save the Children chose to take part in the Expo 2015 in order to draw attention to its work from all over the world. It sees the event as an opportunity to experiment with new channels for providing information, raising awareness and creating engagement around its mission. The architectural design for the Save the Children Pavilion represents a village with small “houses” and plantations. The lighting concept, designed by Metis Lighting and donated to the charity, is based on the following requirements: - lighting the pathways on the outside so as to invite visitors to explore the architecture and plantations of the “houses” in the village; - highlighting the construction materials used for the “houses” and illuminating the various displays. Save the Children village Architectural design Argot ou La Maison Mobile; Design-Build Workshop Argot ou La Maison Mobile - Mezzo AtelierLandscape Project Melania Bugiani - guaranteing required lighting levels for both visitors and Save the Children operators. The iGuzzini luminaires used to create the lighting concept were donated by the company in its role as technical sponsor. The interior lighting system consists of grazing lighting on the bamboo perimeter panels created during the Build Workshop, and accent lighting on the displays. The former was created with Linealuce Mini ceiling-mounted LED luminaires, while the latter featured Front Light halide spotlights with directional flaps. Customised decorative pendant lighting was also designed to specification for the interiors, to light the horizontal planes and create a cosy, domestic atmosphere. This warm lighting then filters out through the houses to create a ‘‘lantern’’ effect. The outside area features accent lighting on key elements, such as the vertical garden and the side entrances to the individual buildings. This is provided by adjustable halide and LED Mini Woody floodlights installed on the roofs or hidden behind the sheet metal perimeter. To highlight the coloured shapes of the “houses” LED Tube luminaires have been mounted on the outside walls. The external walkways are lit by adjustable iPro Micro floodlights fixed on wooden poles, and the same floodlights are mounted on stakes to light the trees that act as a backdrop to the “houses”.

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Project Credits
Lebanon Reconstruction and adaptation
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