Following a seven month design competition with submissions from the world’s leading architecture firms, the National Media Council of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has selected Santiago Calatrava’s proposal for the UAE Pavilion at the Dubai World Expo 2020. The structure, which will sit at the heart of the nearly 500-acre exhibition area and whose design is inspired by a falcon in flight, will be seen by the roughly 25m visitors and participants who are expected to visit the Expo from October 2020 to April 2021.
“I am deeply honoured that our firm will have the opportunity to design the national pavilion for Dubai Expo 2020, a project with national and global significance,” said Mr. Calatrava. “The final design will be a symbol of the UAE’s bold and daring spirit, reflected in what is poised to be the most inclusive and global Expo in history.”
The announcement was made after an intense design competition overseen by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, in its capacity as the Expo’s program manager. Nine of the world’s most celebrated architectural firms submitted 11 concepts; each design was evaluated on how it expressed the main theme of Expo 2020, “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,” whether it had a distinct UAE feel and if it struck an appropriate balance between the country’s past and future.
When completed, the Calatrava-designed UAE Pavilion will be approximately 15,000 sq m (over 161,000 sq ft) and will include numerous exhibition areas, an auditorium, food and beverage outlets and VIP lounges. It will be designed to meet LEED Platinum sustainable building standards.
“The proposed design of the UAE Pavilion captures the story we want to tell the world about our nation,” said UAE Minister of State and National Media Council Chairman H.E. Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber. “Our late founding father His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan used falconry expeditions to forge connections between tribes and to create a distinct national identity which ultimately led to the founding of the United Arab Emirates. Now, the falcon design will symbolize how we are connecting the UAE to the minds of the world and how as a global community we can soar to new heights through partnership and cooperation.”
“The pavilion will be one of the Expo's greatest icons. The design will evoke the pioneering spirit and power of connections that transformed the UAE from a collection of small, desert communities, into a global connection point,” said UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai H.E. Reem Ebrahim Al Hashimy. “The UAE pavilion will become an important cornerstone in our site and will have a legacy plan that will reflect our hopes and ambitions for the many years to come.”
The Dubai World Expo 2020 is a six-month event showcasing architecture, global culture and innovation that will bring together participants from 180 countries and six continents. It will include over 200 participants, including nations, multilateral organisations, corporations and educational institutions. The theme of this year’s Expo, “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,” underscores how the modern world is interconnected and the need to generate sustainable solutions to global problems.