Australian Pavilion Expo 2020 Dubai

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  • 2022

  • Architectural

Designed By:

  • bureau^proberts
  • Liam Proberts, Creative Director, bureau^proberts
  • Jorge Aguirre, Senior Designer, bureau^proberts
  • Doug Roxburgh, Senior Designer
  • 12 additional bureau^proberts architects

Commissioned By:

Department Foreign Affairs and Trade

Designed In:

United Arab Emirates

The Australian Government commissioned bureau^proberts to design the Australian Pavilion for World Expo 2020 in Dubai, from October 2021 to March 2022. The Pavilion’s remarkable success stems from its design ingenuity in creating a welcoming venue for hospitality and culture, and a dynamic centre of trade and investment.


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Image: bureau^proberts_Australian Pavilion Expo 2020 Dubai_Photography Phil Handforth
Image: bureau^proberts_Australian Pavilion Expo 2020 Dubai_Photography Phil Handforth
Image: bureau^proberts_Australian Pavilion Expo 2020 Dubai_Photography Phil Handforth
Image: bureau^proberts_Australian Pavilion Expo 2020 Dubai_Photography Phil Handforth
Image: bureau^proberts_Australian Pavilion Expo 2020 Dubai_Photography Phil Handforth
Image: bureau^proberts_Australian Pavilion Expo 2020 Dubai_Photography Phil Handforth
Image: bureau^proberts_Australian Pavilion Expo 2020 Dubai_Photography Phil Handforth
  • CHALLENGE
  • SOLUTION
  • IMPACT
  • MORE
  • The design challenge was to turn the traditional concept of a trade pavilion upside down, creating an 'anti-pavilion', open to all. In this spirit of openness and collaboration, all Expo visitors were invited into the Pavilion. From the open-air forecourt terrain, where undulating, folded timber signified Australia's distinctive landscape, visitors journeyed around the spaces and attractions at their own pace. Loosely but cleverly curated journeys and experiences, expressing Australia’s ancient culture and young mindset, enabled celebration, collaboration and transaction. In the client’s words ‘the magnificent design enabled Australia to welcome the world with open arms at Expo 2020 Dubai.’

  • In the design development process, we collaborated with Urban Art Projects to establish the curatorial premise that informed architecture, art built-in and programming. This was 'Blue Sky Dreaming' - referencing Australia's creativity, diversity, and 60,000 years of innovation. The cumulus cloud inspired this sense of optimism and uplift in the built form - an ever-moving, natural phenomenon that signifies clear weather and infinite opportunity. We designed the cloud as a tectonic roof structure, a series of white, vertical, aluminium panels suspended 21 metres above the crowds. This intricate, abstracted configuration shaded the forecourt and was the canvas for multimedia projections.

  • Connectedness and open-mindedness were keys to the Pavilion's good design. The architectural design enabled Urban Art Projects and Accolade Events to curate an immersive storytelling sequence that ran throughout the interior, a sensory journey through Australia's past, present, and future. The built design also informed collaboration between Australian Indigenous and Emirati artists whose work was featured throughout the building.

  • The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (the Commissioner/Client) summarised the Pavilion's impact: “Captured through the architecture of bureau^proberts, and entwined with stories of Australian invention, talent, and creativity, the pavilion experience embodied the spirit of Australia.”