Expo 2020 Dubai: The Sustainability District to seek solutions on securing our future
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Expo 2020 Dubai: The Sustainability District to seek solutions on securing our future

Theme pavilion Terra by Grimshaw Architects, Singapore Pavilion by WOHA, Spain Pavilion by Amann-Canovas-Maruri and pavilions of 10 other nations form the Sustainability District.

by Meghna Mehta Oct 30, 2019

World Expositions are Bureau International des Expositions (BIE)-International Registered exhibitions that take place every five years and last for three to six months. Several nations come together to find solutions to the most concerning world issues through various kinds of activities that are planned around a universal theme on which the World Expo is based. 

The first World Expo, the Great Exhibition, took place in London in 1851, and became legendary for the large scale platform it provided for education and progress that bridged countries, organisations and international relations.  

The next World Expo, scheduled to take place in Dubai from October 20, 2020 to April 10, 2021, intends to celebrate this association and be the torch bearer of this collaborative world tradition. As the first World Expo in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, it will welcome millions of visitors from across the world and more than 200 international participants, including a record 192 countries.

Expo 2020 Dubai’s theme is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. It will explore the power of connections across the three sub-themes - Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability. The theme Sustainability addresses the mutual respect we must achieve to live in balance with the world that we inhabit, in order to ensure a sustainable future for all. The theme showcases innovative global projects that are creating new paths of sustainability, and pledge to help preserve our planet for future generations.

As part of the Sustainability district, one can also discover diverse pavilion designs of these countries – Azerbaijan, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Spain and Sweden. 

Terra - The Sustainability Pavilion

Sustainability is a choice, and the pavilion points out what exists around us, the choices we have made and how that has impacted life on the planet earth. Visitors will tip-toe underneath a dense forest designed by Grimshaw Architects as the roots communicate with one another. The design engages the visitor in a game of high-stakes pinball on the planet's future to further meet a giant fish that is furious about the plastic waste that's clogging up its ocean home.

The pavilion exhibits that despite the madness of human consumption and the harm we are causing to the environment, it is not too late for us to save the world. The pavilion has been designed to meet the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum green building standards – the highest available accreditation for sustainable architecture. The structure will include a 130-metre wide canopy (the size of up to five whales lined up) featuring more than 2,800 solar panels to generate electricity during the day, and will also have energy trees equipped with solar panels that will rotate to face the sun.

  • The Sustainability Pavilion designed by Grimshaw Architects | Sustainability | Pavilion | Expo 2020| Dubai| STIRworld
    The Sustainability Pavilion by Grimshaw Architects Image Credit: Courtesy of Expo 2020 Dubai
  • The Sustainability Pavilion designed by Grimshaw Architects | Sustainability | Pavilion | Expo 2020| Dubai| STIRworld
    The Sustainability Pavilion designed by Grimshaw Architects Image Credit: Courtesy of Expo 2020 Dubai

COUNTRY PAVILIONS

The Azerbaijan Pavilion

The pavilion dedicated to the country Azerbaijan focuses on the environment, with the theme ‘Seeds for the Future’. Designed by Simmetrico, the nature-inspired pavilion reflects a ‘mean, lean, green’ design. With a leaf-shaped roof, it will attempt to encourage visitors to consider the impact of their individual choices to invest in the future now, to restore balance with our immediate surroundings and refrain from exploiting them.

Azerbaijan Pavilion designed by Simmetrico | Sustainability | Pavilion | Expo 2020| Dubai| STIRworld
The Azerbaijan Pavilion designed by Simmetrico Image Credit: Courtesy of Expo 2020 Dubai

The Brazil Pavilion

The Brazil Pavilion designed by JPG.ARQ, MMBB and Ben-Avid, on the theme ‘Together for Diversity’, explores incredible diversity, from flora and fauna to arts and culture. Given that the world’s largest river runs through Brazil, it is no surprise that the nation’s Expo 2020 pavilion incorporates water as its most striking feature. Recreating the Amazon basin, the pavilion will have a water feature that visitors can walk through (or around) as they take in the sights, sounds and scents of Brazil’s riverside areas. Visitors will discover more about the country’s rich biodiversity and its potential in sustainable production.

The Brazil Pavilion designed by JPG.ARQ, MMBB and Ben-Avid | Sustainability | Pavilion | Expo 2020| Dubai| STIRworld
The Brazil Pavilion designed by JPG.ARQ, MMBB and Ben-Avid Image Credit: Courtesy of Expo 2020 Dubai

The Canada Pavilion

The pavilion designed by Moriyama & Teshima will take the visitors on an immersive journey through Canada's past, present and future. The Canada Pavilion - based on the theme ‘Canada: The Future in Mind’ and inspired by Canadian landscapes and Arabic architectural elements – is a symbolic representation of the strong cultural and economic ties between Canada and the UAE. Here, the visitors can discover the values that drive the Canadian spirit of innovation and collaboration.

The Canada Pavilion designed by Moriyama & Teshima | Sustainability | Pavilion | Expo 2020| Dubai| STIRworld
The Canada Pavilion designed by Moriyama & Teshima Image Credit: Courtesy of Expo 2020 Dubai

The Czech Republic Pavilion

The pavilion designed by Formosa AA on the theme ‘Czech Spring’ will showcase new technology that promises to transform a desert into an oasis. Visitors to the Czech Republic Pavilion will be welcomed by its centrepiece, which creates fertile land in the barren conditions of the desert by extracting water vapour from the air. This feat of technology, which has enormous potential, uses only solar energy and Czech innovations. The pavilion will also boast a large-scale installation that shows the nation's long history of glassmaking.

The Czech Pavilion designed by Formosa AA | Sustainability | Pavilion | Expo 2020| Dubai| STIRworld
The Czech Pavilion designed by Formosa AA Image Credit: Courtesy of Expo 2020 Dubai

The Germany Pavilion

Exploring the theme ‘Campus Germany’, the pavilion designed by LAVA with Facts and Fiction, attempts to make the visitors enter and experience the lesson of a lifetime. Germany’s pavilion at the Expo 2020 will present a wonderful array of creative environmental ideas with real-life results. Visitors will be able to wear cutting-edge connected devices as they venture through themed areas that include The Energy Lab, The Future City Lab, and The Biodiversity Lab. One can choose from 1,55,000 balls in the colours of Germany’s flag to explore the nation’s pioneering sustainability efforts, and end the experience with a group activity on swings that illustrates the importance of collaboration.

The Germany Pavilion designed by LAVA with Facts and Fiction | Sustainability | Pavilion | Expo 2020| Dubai| STIRworld
The Germany Pavilion designed by LAVA with Facts and Fiction Image Credit: Courtesy of Expo 2020 Dubai

The Singapore Pavilion

Showcasing Singapore’s urban innovations, the net-zero energy pavilion explores the theme ‘Nature. Nurture. Future’, presenting the country’s journey towards liveability and resilience. Designed by WOHA, the pavilion will be a three-dimensional green space flanked by forest trees, capped with a spectacular Hanging Garden. Visitors will be able to stroll across an undulating landscape and nine-metre tall Garden Cones, a testament to Singapore’s reputation as a City in a Garden.

The Singapore Pavilion designed by WOHA | Sustainability | Pavilion | Expo 2020| Dubai| STIRworld
The Singapore Pavilion designed by WOHA Image Credit: Courtesy of Expo 2020 Dubai

The Netherlands Pavilion

At the Netherlands Pavilion designed by V8 architects, visitors will enter a miniature world with its own climate system. Based on the theme ‘Uniting Water, Energy and Food’, the design brims with sustainable solutions; the Netherlands Pavilion will harvest water, energy and food through innovations including a cone-shaped vertical farm. Possessing a naturally controlled climate, the structure will be built using locally sourced materials that will be recycled after Expo, minimising its ecological footprint.

The Netherlands Pavilion designed by V8 Architects | Sustainability | Pavilion | Expo 2020| Dubai| STIRworld
The Netherlands Pavilion designed by V8 Architects Image Credit: Courtesy of Expo 2020 Dubai

The New Zealand Pavilion

Designed by Jasmax, the pavilion design will make the visitors experience New Zealand’s culture, values and cuisine. Based on the theme ‘Care for People and Place’, it explores the strands that connect all life, and the oneness of people and the environment. The New Zealand Pavilion’s theme reflects the Maori value of kaitiakitanga, which stresses on the deep relationship between people and the environment. The island nation’s indigenous culture is also highlighted through the pavilion's architecture, with a design that illustrates ‘waka taonga’, the Maori tradition of using handcrafted containers to safeguard valuable items. In this spirit, the pavilion serves as a receptacle for New Zealand’s essential values.

The New Zealand Pavilion designed by Jasmax | Sustainability | Pavilion | Expo 2020| Dubai| STIRworld
The New Zealand Pavilion designed by Jasmax Image Credit: Courtesy of Expo 2020 Dubai

The Montenegro Pavilion

While traversing through this pavilion, one will be able to immerse themselves in Montenegro’s rich cultural history, to explore its sustainability-driven future, and admire its wild beauty. The Montenegro Pavilion, designed by Matija Vukovic on the theme ‘Montenegro - Blessed by Nature’, will offer visitors an insight into the country’s multi-religious cultural heritage, its national parks, water resources and diverse ecosystems, while celebrating it as an open and safe investment destination. It will also highlight the richness of Montenegro’s biodiversity, its innovative efforts to strike a balance between man and nature, and its strategy for rapid economic development that seeks to preserve the environment for future generations.

The Montenegro Pavilion designed by Matija Vukovic | Sustainability | Pavilion | Expo 2020| Dubai| STIRworld
The Montenegro Pavilion designed by Matija Vukovic Image Credit: Courtesy of Expo 2020 Dubai

The Philippines Pavilion

Designed by Budji + Royal Architecture + Design, the pavilion attempts to resemble a coral reef or ‘Bangkóta’, directly addressing the theme ‘Bangkóta: Philippine Coral Reef’. The natural, organic shape of the coral reef will draw visitors to the Philippine Pavilion into defined, free-flowing, open spaces, reflecting how Filipino culture embraces openness, meaningful encounters, and are connected around the world by travel, migration, and technology. The multi-level structure is built on the idea of connectivity and permeability, enabling visitors to experience the island nation and its resilient, creative people. It will showcase a nation with millennia of history, a sustainable culture, and a vibrant vision of its future.

  • The Philippines Pavilion designed by Budji + Royal Architecture + Design | Sustainability | Pavilion | Expo 2020| Dubai| STIRworld
    The Philippines Pavilion designed by Budji + Royal Architecture + Design Image Credit: Courtesy of Expo 2020 Dubai
  • The Philippines Pavilion designed by Budji + Royal Architecture + Design | Sustainability | Pavilion | Expo 2020| Dubai| STIRworld
    The Philippines Pavilion designed by Budji + Royal Architecture + Design Image Credit: Courtesy of Expo 2020 Dubai

The Spain Pavilion

Designed by Amann-Canovas-Maruri, the pavilion explores Spanish creativity throughout the ages. Based on the theme ‘People and Places’, the pavilion explores everything from historical innovation and adventure to biodiversity and organ transplants. The structure’s conical shape increases air flow to keep visitors cool as they enjoy traditional entertainment and delve into 800 years of Islamic rule in Spain, a period during which literature, architecture and education flourished. Built from reusable materials including wood and iron, the pavilion also features small ‘town squares’ to rest, shop and grab a bite.

  • The Spain Pavilion designed by Amann-Canovas-Maruri | Sustainability | Pavilion | Expo 2020| Dubai| STIRworld
    The Spain Pavilion designed by Amann-Canovas-Maruri Image Credit: Courtesy of Expo 2020 Dubai
  • The Spain Pavilion designed by Amann-Canovas-Maruri | Sustainability | Pavilion | Expo 2020| Dubai| STIRworld
    The Spain Pavilion designed by Amann-Canovas-Maruri Image Credit: Courtesy of Expo 2020 Dubai

The Sweden Pavilion

Designed by Alessandro Ripellino Arkitekter, Studio Adrien Gardère and Luigi Pardo Architetti, the pavilion is created keeping the ‘Co-Creation for Innovation’ theme in mind. The design combines Scandinavian woodlands with Islamic geometric design to inspire the architecture and storytelling of the Sweden Pavilion. Visitors can stroll through its path, flanked by wooden trunks, and learn how Sweden is building smart cities, developing the next generation of travel, innovating life sciences and developing a bio-circular economy. In addition, visitors can enjoy a bar with views across the Expo 2020 site and a café perfect for ‘fika’ (a Swedish coffee break).

  • The Sweden Pavilion designed by Alessandro Ripellino Arkitekter, Studio Adrien Gardère and Luigi Pardo Architetti | Sustainability | Pavilion | Expo 2020| Dubai| STIRworld
    The Sweden Pavilion designed by Alessandro Ripellino Arkitekter, Studio Adrien Gardère and Luigi Pardo Architetti Image Credit: Courtesy of Expo 2020 Dubai
  • The Sweden Pavilion designed by Alessandro Ripellino Arkitekter, Studio Adrien Gardère and Luigi Pardo Architetti | Sustainability | Pavilion | Expo 2020| Dubai| STIRworld
    The Sweden Pavilion designed by Alessandro Ripellino Arkitekter, Studio Adrien Gardère and Luigi Pardo Architetti Image Credit: Courtesy of Expo 2020 Dubai

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About Author

Meghna Mehta

Meghna Mehta

An architect by education and a journalist by passion, Mehta pursued a crossroad between her two interests. Having completed an M.Arch from CEPT University in Ahmedabad, she has worked in the field of architectural journalism for over 5 years. Besides content generation for STIR, she continues to teach in architectural schools in Mumbai.

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