Grimshaw has been an integral part of the Expo 2020 Dubai presence at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (12th – 21st January, 2017), unveiling revised images and features of the Sustainability Pavilion.
The practice is lead designer and architect of the pavilion, working with a multi-disciplinary team including engineers BuroHappold, exhibition designers Thinc, and an advisory group that includes Sir Tim Smit, founder of the Eden Project, and Dennis Bushnell, chief scientist from NASA Langley. The team are set to deliver an immersive experience that will educate and delight the 25m visitors expected to attend Expo 2020 for its six month duration.
Set to open on 20th October, 2020 the Sustainability Pavilion will be a celebration of ecology, sustainable technologies and design, with an overall scheme that works in harmony with the exhibitions it will house. The buildings will be working demonstrations of the effectiveness of solar energy, water harvesting and innovative materials in a context that is unique to the region.
Grimshaw’s design for the site includes a core building with 8,000 sq m of exhibition space, an auditorium, courtyard and reservoir. A dramatic over-arching roof structure provides shade over the building, and acts as the nucleus for energy generation with sizable photovoltaic (PV) panels drawing energy from the sun to power the site.
Surrounding the central building are a series of ‘energy trees’ which will track the sun and harvest energy for the pavilion, whilst also generating water from the atmosphere. Landscaping and walkways through the pavilion are inspired by the Wadi riverbeds, providing intuitive navigation. Paths meander around performance spaces, and flora from the region is celebrated as a key feature of the overall exhibition design.
Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai, said, “Sustainability is at the heart of this World Expo and the legacy we aim to leave behind for the region. Our Sustainability Pavilion will play a major part in this effort, and will serve as an ‘oasis’ for sustainable and innovative experiences and practices – linking to the strategy of the UAE government to be a leader in sustainability on a global scale.”
Grimshaw’s Deputy Chairman, Andrew Whalley said, “We are pleased to be showcasing the design of the Sustainability Pavilion at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, as well as engaging in public discussion on the need to inspire current and future generations on the importance of protecting our planet, and how we can use innovation in science and design to achieve this. The commitment to sustainability from the region is sincere and we look forward to delivering the client’s aspirational vision for an energy-neutral pavilion at the next World Expo in Dubai.”
Legacy is a core part of the design considerations as the pavilion is a permanent fixture on the site. It will continue its planned purpose as a science ‘Exploratorium’ after the mega-event’s closure in April 2021.