Grimshaw to design for World Expo

Nick Myall
Friday 09 Sep 2016

Grimshaw has been selected from a list of high profile architects to design the Sustainability Pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai

Grimshaw has been commissioned to create the Sustainability Pavilion for the 2020 World Expo, which will be held in Dubai, UAE. Born of a tradition of remarkable architecture built for the world exposition stage, the Sustainability Pavilion aims to illuminate the ingenuity and possibility of architecture as society looks to intelligent strategies for sustainable future living.

The pavilion is a unique opportunity to deliver an aspirational message about the natural world, ecology and technology to a global audience. Grimshaw has sought to create a holistic experience that is both exhilarating and informative, and with the support of engineering consultants Buro Happold, the pavilion is designed not only for its striking form but for its demonstrative capabilities. Drawing inspiration from complex natural processes like photosynthesis, the dynamic form of the pavilion is in service to its function, capturing energy from sunlight and fresh water from humid air.

The systems being developed have not been applied previously on such a large scale with the Sustainability Pavilion acting as an important centre and functional laboratory for architectural exploration, demonstrating the possibility of self-sustaining architecture even in challenging climates. Sited in a prominent location, the pavilion structure works in tandem with the considered landscape of demonstration gardens, winding pathways and shaded enclaves to create an aura of magic punctuated by the sights, smells and tactile opportunities of nature.

The pavilion was developed in a holistic manner that incorporates a considered, supporting landscape design. The gardens surrounding the pavilion design are an integral part of the visitor experience, both experiential and functional, setting the stage for the exhibition contents within and creating gathering areas that will manage and distribute crowds while providing retail, food and beverage opportunities.

Content of the pavilion is key to the visitor experience and a primary driver behind the design thinking. The exhibition programme is set to leverage the incredible bio-diversity of the planet and the striking ways in which nature has adapted to harsh climates and challenging conditions.

“We are at a critical juncture in time, with an opportunity before us to create a healthy, lasting future for generations to come,” said Andrew Whalley, Deputy Chairman at Grimshaw. “The architecture and exhibitions of the Sustainability Pavilion will serve as an exciting reminder that ingenious innovation is already underway, and that further inspiration is all around us in the natural world.”

Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State and Director General Bureau Expo 2020 Dubai said: “Expo 2020 Dubai will be a festival of human ingenuity that brings together 25 million people to connect, explore and share ideas on big global issues. Living sustainably is an issue that will only become more pressing as the population grows and demand for resources increases.”

She continued: “We are happy to be working with Grimshaw on our Sustainability Pavilion, a highly innovative structure that will give our millions of visitors a unique perspective on sustainable living, and will also provide inspiring experiences for children that will encourage them to explore and appreciate the wonders of science. This structure is to become a key building block of our legacy as we set the groundwork for a new science exploratorium.”

As the United Arab Emirates continues to establish itself as a global cultural leader, it is important to be represented by design that is both functional and revelatory. The pavilion is designed to perpetuate beyond the life of the mega event, as part of Expo 2020 Dubai’s legacy strategy, and delivers a distinct architectural presence driven by the message it intends to convey.

The Sustainability Pavilion: 2020 World Expo was published by WAN Business Information team 15/8/2015. You can view the original brief here. To access our live database with latest global architectural competitions and project leads click here.  

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Nick Myall

News editor

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