The Dubai World Expo 2020 is a six-month event showcasing architecture, global culture and innovation that will bring together participants from 180 countries and six continents. It will include over 200 participants, including nations, multilateral organizations, corporations and educational institutions. The theme of this year’s Expo, “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,” underscores how the modern world is interconnected and the need to generate sustainable solutions to global problems. The National Media Council of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) selected Santiago Calatrava’s proposal for the UAE Pavilion at the Dubai World Expo 2020. The structure, which will sit at the heart of the nearly 500-acre exhibition area and whose design is inspired by a falcon in flight, will be seen by the roughly 25 million visitors and participants who are expected to visit the Expo.
“I am deeply honored that our firm will have the opportunity to design the national pavilion for Dubai Expo 2020, a project with national and global significance,” said Mr. Calatrava. “The final design will be a symbol of the UAE’s bold and daring spirit, reflected in what is poised to be the most inclusive and global Expo in history.”
The project was expected to represent the main theme of Expo 2020, “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,” have a distinct UAE mood and ensure an appropriate balance between the country’s past and future.
The Calatrava-designed UAE Pavilion will be approximately 15,000 square meters (over 161,000 square feet) and will include numerous exhibition areas, an auditorium, food and beverage outlets and VIP lounges. It will be designed to meet LEED Platinum sustainable building standards.
“The proposed design of the UAE Pavilion captures the story we want to tell the world about our nation,” said UAE Minister of State and National Media Council Chairman H.E. Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber. “Our late founding father His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan used falconry expeditions to forge connections between tribes and to create a distinct national identity which ultimately led to the founding of the United Arab Emirates. Now, the falcon design will symbolize how we are connecting the UAE to the minds of the world and how as a global community we can soar to new heights through partnership and cooperation.”
“The pavilion will be one of the Expo’s greatest icons. The design will evoke the pioneering spirit and power of connections that transformed the UAE from a collection of small, desert communities, into a global connection point,” said UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai H.E. Reem Ebrahim Al Hashimy. “The UAE pavilion will become an important cornerstone in our site and will have a legacy plan that will reflect our hopes and ambitions for the many years to come.”
The UAE Pavilion is located facing the Al Wasl Plaza, which lies at the centre of the 200 hectare exhibition zone for the 2020 Expo; the theme of the Expo is “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”. The pavilion, whose architectural design is meant to evoke the wings of a falcon in flight, will have multiple exhibition areas, an auditorium, food and beverage outlets, VIP lounges and back of house support spaces accommodated over 4 floors. The UAE Pavilion will be the only permanent structure retained post 2020 Expo.
The project’s key environmental features include:
- Retractable fins over the roof, that represent the falcon wings, can be moved hydraulically and allow increased daylight penetration but with solar gain control; photovoltaics cells are integrated into the design of the wings;
- Wings oversail the external facades thus not only shading the vertical walls but also the public circulation routes around it;
- The external envelope is primarily solid, to minimise external solar gains but equally generating large internal AV projection walls;
- Configuration of the MEP design has been designed to cater for future adaptation, post Expo;
- The project will, be designed to meet LEED Platinum rating.