ArchitectureExpo 2020Featured

Sustainable showcase

Countries from around the world are building stunning, sustainable pavilions to showcase themselves.

The countdown clock is well and truly ticking, with the start of Expo 2020 Dubai now less than one year away.

More than 25 million visitors are expected to attend the historic first-ever World Expo to be staged in the Middle East, with 173 days of memorable experiences lined up from 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021.

Stunning pavilions are being designed and built as countries from around the globe come together under the theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ on a 4.38-square kilometre site located next to Al Maktoum International Airport.

And as well as some 190 national pavilions there are also three pavilions that showcase the sub-themes of the event – Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability.

Terra, Sustainability Pavilion has been designed by UK-based Grimshaw Architects to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification – the highest available accreditation for sustainable architecture.

One of the major focal points of the entire Expo exhibition, it includes a stunning 35-metre-tall core structure with some 8000 square metres of exhibition space, an auditorium, courtyard and reservoir.

The design draws inspiration from complex natural processes such as photosynthesis, while the structure will also capture fresh water from humid air, as a 130-metre-wide canopy featuring more than 2800 solar panels draws enough energy from the sun over a year to drive an electric car halfway to Mars, or to charge more than 900,000 mobile phones.

Energy ‘trees’ that rotate to face the sun surround the pavilion, while further sustainable design elements include innovative irrigation techniques such as a grey water recycling system and extensive landscaping with local flora from the United Arab Emirates being planted to reduce water use.

Andrew Whalley, Deputy Chairman of Grimshaw, said: “When we were approached to put forward ideas for the sustainability pavilion, we were very aware of the very challenging environment that it would be placed within.

“In many ways we saw this as an incredible opportunity to demonstrate what can be achieved, even in a hot and arid environment. If you can create a truly sustainable pavilion in that environment then you can replicate that type of thinking anywhere.

“The pavilion at first glance looks quite simple but it’s actually the result of a fairly complex design process of analysis and exploration, looking at structural form and the shape of the pavilion’s roof, and the performance criteria of the environmental systems placed within it.”

John Bull, Director of the Sustainability Pavilion, said: “Terra will be a stirring, and at times emotional, experience as visitors come face-to-face with the significance of their individual choices.

“We hope they will emerge with a new perspective that inspires millions of people of all ages to take action in their own lives, as we all come together to welcome a better future.”

The pavilion will have a long-term legacy as it is scheduled to have a second life as a science centre after the conclusion of Expo Dubai 2020.

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