It’s the final countdown for Expo 2020 Dubai which closes curtains on 31 March 2022. Dubai has put on one of the greatest shows ever seen, which is expected to draw more than 20m visitors since it opened on 1 October 2021. ONGOLO has already written two features on Expo 2020: the best African pavilions, Visit African countries in a day at Expo 2020 Dubai ; and, the pavilions with the best content, Why Expo 2020 Dubai is the greatest show on earth.
Our third feature is about the pavilions with stunning architecture:
#1 United Arab Emirates
The host country has the largest pavilion at Expo, which is located at the centre of the 500-acre exhibition site and next to the main performance venue, the Al Wasl Plaza. The building was designed by famed Spanish architect and engineer, Santiago Calatrava, as a celebration of the UAE’s rich culture and heritage as well as its past, present and (expected) future achievements.
The roof of the pavilion takes the shape of the falcon, the UAE national bird. The 28 wings made of carbon fibre are raised throughout the day to allow the solar panels to charge and produce electricity which goes to the main grid. The building has been awarded a prestigious LEED Platinum certification in recognition of its status as a green building. The all-white structure is surrounded by water and trees, which creates a calm ambience.
The pavilion is very popular, and visitors are advised to use the Expo 2020 Dubai app to book a slot via the managed queue. Visitors enter via the basement and are treated to six installations showing different chapters in UAE’s history and its incredible transformation from fishing village to economic powerhouse. Finish off the tour in the stunning sphere-shaped auditorium with a skylight shaped like the Expo logo.
The stunning pavilion was designed by Carlo Rotti, Italo Rota, Matteo Gatto and F&M Ingegneria and showcases the possibilities of a circular economy by reusing waste material. The roof is made from three capsized boat hulls bathed in the colours of the Italian flag (red, green, and white) – making it the largest Italian flag in the world. The walls are 70km of nautical ropes made from recycled plastics retrieved from the ocean. The paint used on the orange floor is made from organic food waste.
The Italian pavilion showcases some of the greatest achievements in art, culture, and science such as the Fibonacci sequence; the most accurate clock ever created which is also used by the European Space Agency (ESA); modern-day Renaissance smart garden with sensors to monitor changes in the environment; and a replica of Michelangelo’s David statute.
#3 South Korea
The stadium-like pavilion was designed by moon hoon and moonyuki architects. The exterior façade is made of 1,597 spinning, multi-coloured cubes which light up after dark. Visitors walk up the skywalk ramps to enjoy the Augmented Reality content while enjoying the views of the Expo site. The tour ends with a Korean cultural video shown on a stunning ceiling-to-wall giant screen that is best watched lying down on a bean bag.
The Austrian pavilion is unexpected and worth spending the time to understand the theme ‘Austria makes sense’. Designed by the Vienna-based architectural firm, Querkraft Architeklen, the pavilion consists of 38 interlaced cones made from soil, clay, and reed to honour the first Expo to be hosted in the Middle East. The building is probably the most sustainable at Expo as it leverages wind architecture for cooling. The minimalist building is also wordless and has no modern tech except in the innovation iLab.
The pavilion is dedicated to the five human senses of touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste. Some of the interesting installations include the magnetic mechanism table which draws six patterns in the sand, including the Expo logo; the ripple platform made from Swiss Stone pine where visitors can sit down and enjoy the relaxing effects of the healing pine; and the heartbeat table where visitors are asked to put their hands on the table and see the sand shift with every pulse.
#5 United Kingdom
While the Austria pavilion is wordless, the United Kingdom pavilion is all about words. The UK pavilion is the first ever designed by a woman, Es Devlin, who created the 20m high cone-shaped structure out of sustainable timber sourced from Italy and Austria. The façade of the building consists of Belgian-made tiles which display a poem in English or Arabic made from words submitted by visitors which are then turned into a poem using AI.