EXPO 2020 Dubai – An architectural tour

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Photo courtesy of the Japan Pavilion at EXPO 2020 Dubai.

EXPO 2020 Dubai – An architectural tour

Delayed for one year due to the pandemic, EXPO 2020 Dubaii, which takes place in the United Arab Emirates from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022, is, among other things, also a unique collection of built architecture; I briefly present in this article the most architecturally interesting pavilions at Expo Dubai, in my opinion.

Special pavilions

Alif -Le Pavillon Mobility | Home + Partners
Designed by Foster + Partners, Alif is a three-lobed plan building intended to present the most recent and innovative forms of mobility by means of hilly tracks and demonstration areas of the latest technological innovations related to transport, a 500-seat amphitheater and a series of galleries housed in the three “petals” of the pavilion.

EXPO 2020 Dubai, Alif - Le Pavillon Mobilité, Foster + Partners

Alif – The Mobility Pavilion; photo courtesy of Foster + Partners.

Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion | Grimshaw Architects
Designed by the British firm Grimshaw Architects and on the subject of sustainability, the organizer Sustainability Pavilion features a gigantic metal canopy surrounded by smaller “photovoltaic trees”, gardens, pathways and 6,000 square meters of underground gallery space. The pavilion is self-sufficient in energy – produced by 0.6 hectare of monocrystalline photovoltaic panels installed on the awnings – and in fresh water, captured in humid air and by collecting rainwater; and is naturally cooled and ventilated to achieve LEED Platinum certification.

EXPO 2020 Dubai, Terra - The Sustainability Pavilion, Grimshaw Architects

EXPO 2020 Dubai, Terra - The Sustainability Pavilion, Grimshaw Architects 2

Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion; photos courtesy of Grimshaw Architects.

Country flags

Austria | Architect: Querkraft
Designed by based in Vienna Querkraft architects, the 1,600 m² Austrian pavilion consists of 38 crisscrossing cones, made from local materials, which harness natural ventilation to save 75% of the energy needed to cool and ventilate a building of comparable size.

Austrian Pavilion, EXPO 2020 Dubai, Querkraft

Austrian Pavilion, EXPO 2020 Dubai, Querkraft 2

The Austrian pavilion at EXPO 2020 Dubai; photos © www.andreas keller-fotografie.de courtesy of Querkraft.

Finland | Architect: JKMM
The Finnish pavilion was designed by the Helsinki-based architecture office JKMM bringing the nature of Finland to Dubai; on the outside, it looks like an Arab tent, while its interior is characterized by the warm color and tactile softness of Nordic wood.

Finland Pavilion, EXPO 2020 Dubai, JKMM Architects, exterior

Finland Pavilion, EXPO 2020 Dubai, JKMM Architects, interior

The Finnish Pavilion, photos © Marc Goodwin courtesy of JKMM.

France | Atelier Perez Prado + Celnikier & Grabli Architects
Designed by Atelier Perez Prado, based in Marseille, and Celnikier & Grabli Architects, based in Paris, the French Pavilion is an imposing construction whose metallic skin constantly transforms while reflecting the changing light conditions of the surrounding environment. .

France Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai, Perez Prado Celnikier & Grabli

France Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai, Perez Prado Celnikier & Grabli 2

Le Pavillon France, photos Dany Eid, Farel Bisotto courtesy of Celnikier & Grabli Architects.

Japan | Architect: Yuko Nagayama
Conceived by Yuko nagayama, the Flag of japan features an iconic facade whose design combines traditional arabesque patterns with Japanese Asanoha motifs and origami-inspired shapes to symbolize a long history of cultural exchanges between Japan and the Middle East. Sustainability has been achieved by implementing natural cooling, water mirrors for evaporative cooling and indirect lighting, and environmentally friendly technical systems.

Japan Pavilion, EXPO Dubai 2020, Yuko Nagayama exterior 2

Japan Pavilion, EXPO Dubai 2020, interior Yuko Nagayama

the flag of Japan; photos Courtesy of the Japan Pavilion at the 2020 Dubai International Expo / Yuko Nagayama Associates.

Luxembourgish | Architect: Metaform
Conceived by Metaform architects, the small Luxembourg Pavilion has the shape of a Möbius ribbon to symbolize the circular economy and to blur the border between interior and exterior, since the single face of the ribbon is at the same time a floor, a wall and a ceiling.

Luxembourg Pavilion, EXPO 2020 Dubai, Metaform

The Luxembourg Pavilion at EXPO 2020 Dubai; photo courtesy of Metaform Architects.

Morocco | Architect: Oualalou + Choi
Designed by Paris and based in Casablanca Oualalou + Choi Architects and inspired by the Moroccan vernacular architecture in adobe, the Pavillon du Maroc of 4615 square meters contains exhibition spaces, a restaurant, a tea room, a street food space, a boutique, an event space, a space office and living room, connected by a continuous “ramp street” bordering a visually impressive interior courtyard.

Morocco Pavilion, EXPO 2020 Dubai, Tarik Oualalou

Morocco Pavilion, EXPO 2020 Dubai, Oualalou + Choi, courtyard

Le Pavillon du Maroc, photos courtesy of Oualalou + Choi.

Netherlands | V8 Architects
Designed by Rotterdam-based V8 Architects, the Dutch pavilion is not a building in the traditional sense of the term, but a “harvesting machine” capable of harvesting three crucial elements – water, energy and food – and bringing them together in a biotope.

Netherlands Pavilion, EXPO 2020 Dubai, V8 Architects, interior 5

Netherlands Pavilion, EXPO 2020 Dubai, V8 Architects, interior 1

The Netherlands pavilion at EXPO 2020 Dubai; photos Jeroen Musch courtesy of V8 Architects.

Poland | Architect: WXCA
Designed by Warsaw-based architectural firm WXCA, the 2,000-square-meter Polish pavilion is a modular, tree-shaped wooden structure featuring a kinetic sculpture that references the large-scale migration of birds from Poland to the Arab world.

Poland Pavilion, EXPO 2020 Dubai, WXCA Architects, exterior

Poland Pavilion, EXPO 2020 Dubai, WXCA Architects, interior

The Polish pavilion, designed by WXCA Architects; photos courtesy of PAIH.

Saudi Arabia | Boris Micka Associates
Designed by a Seville-based architect Boris Micka, the 13,000 m² Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Pavilion is a bold cantilever structure that incorporates the world’s largest audio-visual system.

Saudi Arabia, EXPO 2020 Dubai, Boris Micka Associates, exterior 2

Saudi Arabia, EXPO 2020 Dubai, Boris Micka Associates, interior

the flag of Saudi Arabia; images courtesy of Boris Micka Associates.

Sweden | Architect: Alessandro Ripellino
Co-created through an international collaboration between Alessandro Ripellino Arkitekter, Studio Adrien Gardère and Luigi Pardo Architetti, the Swedish pavilion is a truly impressive timber construction that uses the metaphor of a forest to symbolize sustainability and mutual collaboration.

Swedish Pavilion, EXPO 2020 Dubai, Alessandro Ripellino

the Swedish flag; photo Johannes Edberg courtesy of Ripellino Archaetypes / Reflex Arkitekter.

United Arab Emirates | Santiago calatrava
For the United Arab Emirates, the Spanish starch producer Santiago calatrava designed a 15,000 square meter pavilion with a roof made up of 28 wings that turn and open to resemble “a falcon in flight”; In carbon fiber, the wings also protect the photovoltaic panels installed on the roof of the building from sandstorms and heavy rains.

EXPO 2020 Dubai, United Arab Emirates Pavilion, Architect Santiago Calatrava

EXPO 2020 Dubai, United Arab Emirates Pavilion, architect Santiago Calatrava, interior

The United Arab Emirates pavilion, courtesy of Santiago Calatrava.

The United Kingdom | Architect: Es Devlin
Inspired by one of Stephen Hawking’s latest projects and designed by artist and designer Es Devlin, the UK PAvilion is a 20-meter-high cross-laminated timber structure that resembles a gigantic conical musical instrument. Covered in LED lights, the facade of the pavilion features a “collective message”, displayed in English and Arabic, based on words submitted by visitors.

UK Pavilion, EXPO 2020 Dubai, Es Devlin, exterior 2

UK Pavilion, EXPO 2020 Dubai, Es Devlin, interior

The British Pavilion at EXPO 2020 Dubai, photos Alin Constantin Photography.


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