Pico, McLaren to build Expo 2020 Dubai's Hawking-led UK Pavilion

Ground has broken on the Es Devlin-designed project located within the Opportunity District of the next World Expo's site

The Stephen Hawking-inspired UK Pavilion of Expo 2020 Dubai.
Wam / Archives
The Stephen Hawking-inspired UK Pavilion of Expo 2020 Dubai.

Ground has broken on the Stephen Hawking-inspired UK Pavilion of Expo 2020 Dubai, located in the Opportunity District of the next World Expo’s 4.38km2 site, with the structure, designed by UK artist and designer Es Devlin OBE and produced by brand experience agency Avantgarde, to be built by McLaren Construction and Pico.

The centrepiece of the UK Pavilion is a 20m-high cone-shaped structure made up of rows of protruding slats that extend outwards from one central point to form a circular facade.

Devlin had said in September 2018 that the UK Pavilion’s 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”.

The building will feature cross-laminated timber on a concrete structure, with much of the pavilion manufactured and assembled off site in order to maximise quality and safety standards.

McLaren will ensure its work on Expo 2020 Dubai’s UK Pavilion meets the requirements of the UK Modern Slavery Act as a minimum.

UK companies have won a significant proportion of contracts related to the design, build, and delivery of Expo 2020 Dubai, such as Hampshire-based Serco Group, which received a contract extension earlier this year to maintain and operate the Dubai Metro – the main method of transportation for visitors to the expo site.

Dartford-based Laing O’Rourke is also working on a contract to build the Leadership and Media Pavilions, as well as the ‘Hammerhead’ access road to the central event space for Expo 2020 Dubai.

Commenting on the UK Pavilion, HE Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau, said: “The UAE and the UK have long enjoyed a robust, mutually beneficial relationship that will continue to thrive as we forge partnerships across all sectors, from trade and tourism to art, technology, and education.

“Expo 2020 Dubai will provide a strong platform to expand those partnerships, and we congratulate the UK as it begins the construction of this dramatic, artistic, AI-inspired pavilion.”

Pico Group director, Jessie Ng, continued: “Working with the Department for International Trade, we will build a unique and exciting structure that will showcase the best in UK innovation and reflect the opportunities within the UK’s participating theme for Expo 2020 Dubai – ‘Innovating for a Shared Future’.”

McLaren chairman, Kevin Taylor, added: “Being asked to build the UK Pavilion is testament to our ability to bring to life some exceptional buildings. We are proud to represent both the UK and Dubai with this exciting project.”

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