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Design focus: Expo 2020 Dubai's country pavilions

by Neha Bhatia on Sep 30, 2018


Expo 2020 Dubai will open its doors on 20 October, 2020 [image: Expo 2020 Dubai].
Expo 2020 Dubai will open its doors on 20 October, 2020 [image: Expo 2020 Dubai].
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Expo 2020 Dubai has made steady construction progress in 2018, and site activity is on track to peak in 2019 for the UAE megaproject. Progress has also been noted on Expo 2020 Dubai’s country pavilions, where each nation participating in the world expo will showcase its achievements and ambitions. Ahead of Q4 2018, Construction Week rounds up the development that has been noted on Expo 2020 Dubai’s various country pavilions.

More than 180 nations are expected to participate in Expo 2020 Dubai, which will open its doors on 20 October, 2020. Participating nations that have revealed pavilion designs for Expo 2020 Dubai include Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Switzerland, and the UK.

This month, Archdaily reported that Querkraft, a Vienna-based architecture firm, would design Austria’s pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai. According to the report, Querkraft’s design for the Austrian facility would present the country as “a centre of innovation”, and focus on questions about “how resources can be used more thoughtfully and respectfully in the future”.

Nature is also central to the Czech Republic’s Expo 2020 Dubai pavilion, which will focus on the ‘Czech Spring’ concept. According to a statement dated 26 June on Expo 2020 Dubai’s website, the “striking building” comprises “fluid lines that flow around rectangular exhibition spaces”. Doctoral students from Czech Technical University in Prague’s Faculty of Architecture worked with design practice Formosa on the project, which will be located in Expo 2020’s Sustainability Themed District.

READ: Expo 2020 Dubai's Opportunity Pavilion will be concrete-free

“Central to the Czech Republic’s involvement in Expo 2020 will be a demonstration of its innovative Solar Air Water Earth Resource system, which uses solar energy to collect water from air, using a photobioreactor and compost tea,” Expo 2020 Dubai’s statement continues.

“Scientists have successfully used this water to produce an algae that helps grass, herbs and crops grow in desert sand. The Czech scientists aim to use the technology to grow olive and palm trees in the UAE’s desert during the Expo. Given the agricultural challenges in the UAE and the region, this could be a real benefit beyond 2020.

“The pavilion will also feature a Czech restaurant, a massive installation of designer glass, and a rotating exhibition to help attract repeat visitors,” Expo 2020 Dubai’s release adds.

The country pavilions of Luxembourg and New Zealand will also be centred on nature and the environment. Luxembourg, which has pledged to invest $29m (AED108m) in the expo, signed a contract marking its official event participation in October 2017. The theme of its pavilion is ‘Resourceful Luxembourg’, which reflects the country’s status as a smart nation that looks to other nations to connect the human, natural, technical, industrial, and financial resources it needs to shape its future. The spiral-shaped Luxembourg Pavilion – on which ground broke this April – will be located in the Opportunity District of Expo 2020, and include an exhibition space, a multi-purpose area, a restaurant, a shop, administrative offices, and technical facilities.

“Particular emphasis was placed on the criteria of the circular economy and how architecture can work in perfect symbiosis with the exhibition,” Luxembourg at Expo 2020 Dubai says on its website.

“The call for projects procedure was launched on 17 January, 2017 and was closed on 7 April, 2017 following the announcement that a consortium of architects and scenographers had been selected,” the website continues, adding that architecture studio Metaform was ultimately named to implement the project.

Meanwhile, on 10 May, designs of New Zealand’s waka taonga-inspired pavilion were revealed as well. Expo 2020 Dubai said the pavilion “brings to life a Māori tradition of protecting valuable items in intricate containers”, adding: “Visitors to the 2,000m2 pavilion are sure to be awed by the complex design that goes beyond the expected exhibition space to also include a restaurant, design store, and hosting facilities.

“New Zealand will promote its core values of ingenuity, integrity and kaitiakitanga – the Māori term for guardianship, which describes the deep kinship between humans and nature. Consequently, the pavilion will be located within the Sustainability Themed District, reflecting the country’s focus on protecting the planet and its commitment to renewable energy,” Expo 2020 Dubai added.

Science and technology is another feature that is common to some country pavilions planned for Expo 2020 Dubai. For instance, Germany’s scientific and technological achievements will be showcased at its 4,500m² high-tech pavilion, which is set to be among the largest at Expo 2020 Dubai.

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Created by Cologne-based Facts and Fiction and Berlin architectural firm Lava, Campus Germany, as the pavilion is referred to, has been designed with separate modules that meet together in the middle of an atrium. Its highlight is an intelligence assistance system called Iamu, which will be showcased for the first time in the world. Iamu will be an “invisible companion to visitors” guiding them through the multi-storey Campus Germany pavilion, which has three labs covering energy, smart cities, and biodiversity, Expo 2020 Dubai said in a statement earlier this month.

Switzerland’s $15.2m pavilion, named Belles Vues, is among the future-focused country pavilions planned for Expo 2020 Dubai. The project, half of which will be funded by third parties, has been designed by designed by Zurich-based architects OOS in collaboration with Bellprat Partner and Lorenz Eugster. Tenders for its general contractor and restaurant operator were due to be launched in summer 2018. In a statement published on 4 December, 2017, House of Switzerland – presented by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs – said that the country is “making a bold architectural statement” with Belles Vues. The Swiss Pavilion will reference the temporary structures of Bedouin tents, and imbibe sustainable construction practices through scaffolding elements and textiles.

“The concept invites visitors to wander: as they pass through the pavilion, they learn more about Switzerland and its responses to the challenges of tomorrow,” the statement continued.

“The global innovations that emanate from Switzerland will also feature prominently. In addition, the pavilion will host a number of temporary exhibitions that turn the spotlight on Swiss innovation and the products and services of private-sector partners.”

Technology – including space travel – is a key focus of the latest pavilion design revealed for Expo 2020 Dubai: the UK Pavilion, to be designed by British artist Es Devlin OBE, draws inspiration from the work of late astrophysicist and cosmologist, Stephen Hawking. London- and Dubai-based agency, Avantgarde, will produce the pavilion. Devlin and Avantgarde will work with structural engineering firm, Atelier One, and sustainability firm, Atelier Ten, on the project.

At the time of the pavilion’s design reveal, Devlin said in a statement: “The idea draws directly on one of Stephen Hawking’s final projects, ‘Breakthrough Message’, a global competition that Hawking and his colleagues conceived in 2015 inviting people worldwide to consider what message we would communicate to express ourselves as a planet, should we one day encounter other advanced civilisations in space.”

She added that the UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai could likely become a hub for global visitors to participate “in a collective global project that showcases British expertise in AI technologies and poetry while transcending national identities”.

While the Netherlands and the US are yet to reveal their pavilion designs, both countries have been actively working on the projects.

Netherlands Enterprise Agency was commissioned by the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to oversee the pavilion’s design, build, maintenance, and dismantling work, it was revealed this June. Meanwhile, Big Things Group has been named to work on US Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai under a public-private partnership (PPP) model. Big Things Group will help to facilitate the fundraising, project management, design, construction, operation, disassembly and removal of the USA Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, the US Department of State said in the same month.

In a statement to Construction Week, Expo 2020 Dubai explained that the design and construction schedule for each self-built national pavilion “is determined by the participating country” developing the project. As such, it remains to be seen how the remaining Expo 2020 Dubai country pavilions shape up. However, it wouldn’t be unfair to assume that all of Expo 2020 Dubai’s country pavilions – much like the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia’s first world expo – will highlight the technology prowess and environmental awareness needed for tomorrow’s cities.



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