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Progress on Expo 2020 Dubai country pavilions in Dubai South

Details of the most recent Expo 2020 Dubai construction updates from work-in-progress to ground breaking on country pavilions

The Expo 2020 Dubai’s site spans an area covering 4.38km2 in Dubai South.
Expo 2020 Dubai
The Expo 2020 Dubai’s site spans an area covering 4.38km2 in Dubai South.

In less than a year, Expo 2020 Dubai will open its doors to more than 25 million visitors from across the globe on 20 October, 2020, with 70% of the visitors expected to come from outside the UAE. The first World Expo to take place in the region, Expo 2020 Dubai, will be located on an area covering 4.38km2 near Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai South.

Construction work is rapidly progressing across the World Expo’s site — which noted the crowning of the 67.5m-tall and 130m-wide Al Wasl Plaza, which the final piece was lifted into place in September 2019.

Progress has been made on country pavilions, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, as well as France, with ground also being recently broken on the national pavilions of Bahrain, Canada, Italy, and Austria.

During the annual meeting of the government, the minister of state for International Cooperation and the director-general of the Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau, HE Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashimy, said that the Expo 2020 Dubai would make the UAE a “global hub” for businesses and entrepreneurs.

Ahead of the UAE’s 48th National Day, Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Crown Prince HRH Mohammed Bin Salman Al Saud visited the Expo 2020 Dubai site as part of his visit to the country, alongside HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council.

HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum at the Expo 2020 Dubai site [image: Twitter/ @HamdanMohammed]

HRH Mohammed bin Salman and HH Sheikh Hamdan visited the Saudi Arabian Pavilion, and were briefed about the creative façade of the kingdom’s national pavilion that is designed by Boris Micka Associates. They also toured the UAE’s national pavilion, as well as the Al Wasl Plaza.

Earlier this month, France made progress on the construction of its light-inspired pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. The structure is being built by Belgian construction giant Besix - which is also building Belgium’s national pavilion - and is designed by a consortium of Atelier du Prado and Celnikier & Grabli.The foundation stone on the French Pavilion was laid in May 2019, marking the beginning of construction activities.

The team behind the French Pavilion said on its Twitter handle at the time that work was under way on the pavilion’s construction site, which is located within the World Expo’s Mobility District.

The pavilion being built on a land plot of more than 4,200m2, will feature 2,700m2 of photovoltaic panels and 1,800m2 of façades. Nearly 80% of the energy used will be produced by the pavilion, according to information published on the website dedicated to the nation’s participation in Expo 2020 Dubai.

Paris-based developer-operator Cofrex is tasked with preparing, organising, and implementing France’s participation at the global event. Meanwhile, a group of 10 companies comprising architects, scenographers, sound technicians, and construction companies are working on the project. Otelio, the sustainable development and engineering subsidiary of French firm Oteo Ingénierie’s is delivering sustainability planning for the country pavilion.

Meanwhile, many other countries marked construction commencement on their national pavilions at the World Expo that has three thematic districts including Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability.

Most recently, Bahrain laid the foundation stone for its 2,000m2 pavilion, design commissioning for which has been awarded to Swiss engineer Christian Kerres. The pavilion will be a 24m semi-cubic building, with a central and open viewing area that is 30m long and wide. The structure will be supported by 126 columns that are each 11cm thick.

The Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities (BACA) is cooperating with the UAE’s architectural and engineering design services firm Wanders Werner Falasi Consulting Architects that is directed by Hannes Werner and Mansoor Al Falasi to implement the Bahrain Pavilion. According to the firm’s website it is also providing architect of record and engineering services to the World Expo’s other participating countries such as, Spain, Latvia, Ukraine, Colombia, Venezuela, Palestine, and Egypt.

French Pavilion is located within World Expo’s Mobility District [image: Expo 2020 Dubai].

Another pavilion that marked the commencement of construction activities is the government of Dubai-owned energy giant, Enoc Group, which is the Official Integrated Energy Partner of Expo 2020 Dubai. Enoc’s future-focused pavilion will be a five-building structure, which is being built under the theme ‘Reimagine Energy’.

The development is divided into five district pavilion structures or houses that are inspired by traditional oil storage tanks. Located near the UAE’s falcon-shaped pavilion, between the Sustainability and Opportunity Districts, construction work on Enoc Pavilion is scheduled for completion in July 2020.

Dubai-based contracting giant ALEC is the general contractor for the pavilion, while UK-headquartered Cundall is the engineering consultant. Ontario’s SRP is the executive architect for the pavilion, which has Jack Morton as lead designer and project management consultant.

According to Enoc, the pavilion will be built on steel foundations — using 650 tonnes of steel — which will help reduce the use of concrete, thereby reduce excavation works and create less environmental impact during the construction and legacy period. Steel structures will be clad with lightweight and recyclable curved aluminium sheets featuring raw uncoated and powder-coated smooth and perforated finishes.

Once completed and ready for the six-month long event, the pavilion will offer audio-visual narratives, and interactive projections. Speaking about the pavilion, group chief executive officer of Enoc, HE Saif Humaid Al Falasi, said at the time: “Across every touchpoint, we will focus on using sustainable materials and leverage advanced technologies that reduce our ecological footprint. We are partnering with world-class experts to ensure our pavilion gives visitors an unforgettable experience and we will make sure this is done with sustainable design considerations in mind.”

Canada also celebrated the beginning of construction activities at its “The Future in Mind”-themed pavilion by breaking ground on the World Expo’s site. Ontario-based construction heavyweight Ellisdon was picked to design, build, and operate the pavilion, which will be a wooden structure, and will feature Canada’s landscapes with traditional Arabic architectural elements. The contractor has mobilised on-site to commence construction activities.

Other companies including Moriyama & Teshima Architects, Lord Cultural Resources, Hatch, Kubik, Thornton Tomasetti, NGX, and Cisco are also working on the pavilion that will be located within the Sustainability District.

Designed by a consortium of Italy’s Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA), Italo Rota Building Office, F&M Ingegneria, and Matteo Gatto & Associati, building works also began at the Italian pavilion that covers an area spanning 3,500m2. The 25m-high structure will feature overturned ships on the exteriors, which are raised sideways on tall pillars, making them the roof of the entire pavilion.

In March 2019, while revealing the design of the pavilion, they said that the three hulls of ships will be painted in the colours of the country’s national flag, and when seen from a bird’s eye-view, will appear like three petals. The Italian pavilion is located between the World Expo’s Opportunity and Sustainability Thematic Pavilions.

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