Foster, BIG and Grimshaw win Dubai Expo 2020 theme pavilions

Aidan collage photo

Foster + Partners, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and Grimshaw Architects have won a global competition to design the theme pavilions for Dubai Expo 2020.

The competition sought to identify the designs for the three theme pavilions of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability, under the Expo’s 2020 theme of Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.

Thirteen global architecture practices participated in the competion, which was launched in July 2015 by developers Emaar, on behalf of Expo 2020.


Danish architecture studio, led by Bjarke Ingels is set to design the Opportunity Pavilion. The image depicts a flat-roofed structure with elements of landscape design and an oasis set at the centre of the pavilion which appears to combine indoor and outdoor spaces. BIG has also recently completed an art and design space in the old port of Abu Dhabi.


Opportunity Pavilion by BIG


Opportunity Pavilion

The Mobility Pavilion will be created by UK giants Foster + Partners which has a number of completed projects in the UAE such as Dubai’s Index building as well as the master plan for the sustainable Masdar City.


The Mobility Pavilion by Foster + Partners

The winning design appears to be a trio of space-like structures that thicken as they rise taller, providing shade. The roof features a wrap-around viewing deck offering 360 degrees views of the surrounding expo site.


The Mobility Pavilion by Foster + Partners

The winning design for the Sustainability Pavilion, which will become a long term technology cluster, was submitted by Grimshaw Architects. The firm designed the Eden project in Cornwall, UK, and is known for its work in the field of sustainable architecture.


Sustainability Pavilion by Grimshaw


Sustainability Pavilion by Grimshaw

HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Expo Higher Committee and Chairman of Dubai Airports and Emirates Airline, in partnership with Emaar Properties, revealed the winners of the architectural competition.

A key judging criterion was to ensure the designs are sustainable and flexible to allow for full functionality even after the Expo has concluded in 2021.

“The competition attracted a truly stellar line up of architectural firms that each put forward designs that impressed all those involved in the selection process,” said HH Al Maktoum.

“After careful study and consideration, three designs stood out, amidst tough competition, as great future structures that will mark our Expo as exceptional.”


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