UAE Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai

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  • 2022

  • Architectural

Designed By:

  • Calatrava International LLC

Commissioned By:

Ministry of Presidential Affairs (MOPA)

Designed In:

United Arab Emirates

Embodying the theme of Expo 2020, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating The Future’, Santiago Calatrava designed the host country’s pavilion. The UAE Pavilion symbolizes how the UAE is connecting the minds by providing a platform from which the global community can soar to new heights while capturing the country’s identity, values, & vision.


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Image: © Palladium Photodesign - Oliver Schuh + Barbara Burg
Image: © Palladium Photodesign - Oliver Schuh + Barbara Burg
Image: © Palladium Photodesign - Oliver Schuh + Barbara Burg
Image: © Palladium Photodesign - Oliver Schuh + Barbara Burg
Image: © Palladium Photodesign - Oliver Schuh + Barbara Burg
Image: © Palladium Photodesign - Oliver Schuh + Barbara Burg
  • CHALLENGE
  • SOLUTION
  • IMPACT
  • MORE
  • The design takes its inspiration from the majestic falcon, that state's national bird, spreading its 28 moveable wings as a symbol of the UAE's strength and heritage. The objective of the Expo 2020 was to achieve a state-of-the-art environmental design through an integrated & holistic approach; achieving LEED Platinum Certification for the UAE Pavilion project. The challenge was of combining the sustainable practices required to achieve LEED Platinum Certification with innovative technologies required to achieve the architectural design.

  • The roof of the UAE Pavilion comprising 28 moveable wings are connected to the roof structure with hinges which are subsequently connected to the main steel structure using a total of 100 bearings. The wings can be opened within 3 minutes with a range of movements, varying from 110 to 125 degrees. When in the open position, a surface-grid of photovoltaic panels are exposed to the sun, absorbing sunlight, and generating renewable energy.

  • In line with the UAE’s commitment to sustainable development and Expo’s theme of generating sustainable solutions to global problems, the architectural design of the Pavilion aimed to meet the highest standards of sustainability and was certified LEED Platinum, implementing elements that are energy-efficient, reduce water consumption, and optimise indoor air quality.

  • - The design inspiration of the UAE Pavilion extends inward into the building whereby the falcon’s feathers nestle and shelter the interior. - The interior decorative ceilings are composed of FRG- Fibred Reinforced Gypsum with bespoke moulds locally crafted to meet the unique slopes and curvatures of the roof. - The Oculus skylight at the apex of the roof mirrors the form of the Expo logo, it also has a functional feature of surrounding grilles that open for smoke extraction in the case of an accidental fire. - At the core of the UAE Pavilion is the auditorium structure which is a faceted sphere with an outer diameter of approximately 25m and an overall height of approximately 20m. - The Auditorium serves as both an architectural centrepiece and a functional auditorium with a capacity to accommodate approximately 200 people. - A specialist lifting platform sourced in the United Kingdom supports the interior seating of the Auditorium and can move upwards and downwards between two levels. - There are 5,622 total plants within the landscape, of which 2,350 are considered to be of cultural importance to the UAE. - There is a total number of 84 trees, of which 44 are of cultural importance to the United Arab Emirates.