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Details revealed on Expo 2020 Dubai's Danish Business Pavilion

EXCLUSIVE: Danish Business Pavilion's deputy pavilion director, Jan Bak, on design, construction, materials, and post-expo use

The Danish Business Pavilion is located within Expo 2020 Dubai’s Mobility District [image: Madison Group]
The Danish Business Pavilion is located within Expo 2020 Dubai’s Mobility District [image: Madison Group]

Over 193 countries from across the globe are participating in the next World Expo and many of them have revealed the design of their pavilion, with construction progressing rapidly on these structures.

Among them is the 100% sustainable and completely dismantlable Danish Pavilion, which is located between the pavilions of Australia and Oman, within the expo’s Mobility District.

Speaking to Construction Week in the comfort of his office on the ninth floor of an office tower in Dubai’s Business Bay area, the deputy pavilion director and head of construction of the Danish Business Pavilion, Jan Bak, points at a white board placed right behind him that has notes highlighting the progress of the Danish Pavilion.

“We only received a no objection certificate (NOC) from the Danish government to embark this private business initiative in July last year (2019),” says Bak.

Bak refers to the participation of Denmark and development of the country’s pavilion as a private sector initiative as the funding for the pavilion is secured by private businesses, while the government is not funding the pavilion. In 2018, the Danish government supported the pavilion under a joint approach, where 50% funding would be provided by the government and the remaining 50% by the private sector. According to Bak, the way it was structured, the model did not succeed and the government had to pull out from the joint project.

“The initial budget of the pavilion was $3.5m (AED12.9m) from the Danish government and $3.5m (AED12.9m) from the private sector.” Bak adds: “Right now we are confining ourselves to a $3.5m (AED129m) budget to undertake the construction, production, and operational activities.”

Bak says that because of design and construction restrictions a public tender was not issued for the Danish Business Pavilion. “We had to decide on companies and people that we already had relationships with.”

Jan Bak, deputy pavilion director of Danish Business Pavilion [image: Madison Group]

Bak is the owner and chief executive officer of Dubai-based Madison Group, which is responsible for the design, construction, operation, dismantling, and re-erection of the pavilion. India and UAE-based Power Shield Engineering is the main contractor of the pavilion. UAE-based TSSC Group is the super structure contractor, while Skasz Technical Services is the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) and fit-out contractor for the modular building. Meanwhile, MGC is the architect of record, project manager, and cost consultant of the Danish Business Pavilion.

Power Shield Engineering is primarily responsible for mobilisation, excavation, and foundation of the Danish Business Pavilion, while TSSC will complete the entire façade of the structure as well as roofing activities. The fit-out contractor will carry out cladding and exterior works in addition to paint works.  Baks tells Construction Week: “The facade of the structure will be completed with Cembrit’s cement fibre boards.”

The main contractor will deploy 10 people on the construction site of the pavilion, while TSSC will have 15 workers for the erection of the pavilion. The Skasz Technical Services team will deploy 20 people on the site for MEP and fit-out works.

Construction work on the pavilion will begin in the later part of February, and will be completed on 20 July 2020, and the final fix will be done on the 20 September 2020.

The pavilion’s structure is based on modular construction, and will be dismantled and moved to another site to be re-erected as a kindergarten. By adopting the modular design, Bak explains, the structure “will be completed on time and will be easy to move after the expo”. He adds: “We will have a light gauge steel building, which is cladded with panels.”

The pavilion will be dismantled and re-erected to build a kindergarten [image: Madison Group]

Danish Business Pavilion takes inspiration from the waves of Kattegat and Skagerrak and will be an ode to the Nordic country’s nature and cultural heritage.

The normal height of the building is 12 metres, but Danish Pavilion secured “special permission”, as Bak terms it, to increase the height to 18 metres. Bak says: “We are making a replica of the Round Tower of Copenhagen.” The tower — referred to as Rundetaarn in Danish — is a 17th century structure and observatory that was built by Christian IV.

Another attraction that Bak says “will drive a lot of traffic” is the replica of the ‘Helge Ask’ Viking ship that will be 17m-long.

Danish Business Pavilion will have a typical product laid under the floors to maintain the voice level. This product is manufactured by Scan Underlay, a Danish company that specialises in recycling used car tires by converting them into a patented rubber fabric that can be used for soundproofing and flooring works.

Interior walls within the structure will have fibre glass fabric covering from Nordic Look. Bak explains: “It is a wall façade which is basically designed so that we are helping out with cracks. A lot of times, as the buildings are settling, there will be cracks in the wall. And then that comes out on to you to have to repaint or fill it. But by using this wallpaper basically then reduce the risk of any form of cracks and you only have to paint on top of this surface.”

Bak explains that Nordic Look’s wallpaper is strong and durable. “You don’t have to have primer, you just finish it with one coat of paint,” he adds.

Pointing towards the interiors of the pavilion, Bak tells Construction Week that, Danish firm Adapa, which made the interior panels in the Museum Of The Future, will decorate the Danish Business Pavilion.

70% of the sand that will be excavated from the construction site will be mixed with a non-toxic water-based solution called Danish Concrete Hardener, supplied by the Danish firm of the same name. Bak explains that the sand will then be mixed with 30% cement mix to fabricate on site and produce 60cmX60cm concrete tiles.

“All of landscaping tiles will be produced on the site. If we are to reuse these tiles, they have to be very strong.”

The pavilion is constructed on a 1,550m2 plot, with a built-up area just around 900m2. Bak says that the G+1 storey structure will have a roof-top set of services. Explaining the reason behind a G+1 storey building, Bak says: “We are intending to move the entire pavilion to a plot in the UAE. If we move it too high, then that also could have restrictions on the best position after the expo.”


The pavilion’s main attraction will be a replica of the‘Helge Ask’ Viking ship that will be 17metre-long [image: Madison Group]

Following the closing of the six-month-long Expo 2020 Dubai, the Danish team will start dismantling the structure from 1 May 2021 and will complete the process by end of June.

Bak tells Construction Week, “We have several expression of interests (EOI) from UAE nationals, who have got lots of land in locations such as Nad Al Sheba, Jumeirah Village Circle, where it would be possible for us to re-erect the pavilion.”

Under a partnership with the plot owner, the Danish team will rent the land, with rent being free for the first five years. After the period, the building will be under the ownership of the plot owner and later will be rented at “an agreed rate”.

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