UAE Milan Expo pavilion set for completion


Work is underway on the final stages of the UAE’s Milan Expo Pavilion which has been designed by UK architects Foster + Partners.

The building is scheduled to be completed in a week (April 27) when systems and displays will tested ahead of the official opening of the event on May 1.

The pavilion’s design refers back to the planning principles of a traditional desert city, such as self-shaded streets which recreate the experience exploring an ancient settlement amidst the sand.


The structure has been developed to be dismantled after the event and transported to the UAE where it will be reconstructed.

The three-storey project gives the impression of 12-metre high sand dunes and the passages will lead visitors through a rift ‘canyon’, to reveal a performance space and stage within an amphitheatre.

Under the theme ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’, the UAE Pavilion also includes a secluded heritage oasis set between shaded palm trees.

The building itself consists of four areas. One will house the VIP facilities, the second is the theatre a third will form the will be the Palm Oasis and the last references a natural canyon landform which also includes an exhibition area.

Display panels along the canyon walls, depicting UAE’s achievements in conservation and sustainability while the theatre will host groups of 150 people in a circular auditorium where a film called The Family Tree will be shown.

The story concerns a young Emirati girl who travels through time to uncover the value of safeguarding the world for a sustainable future. The character of “Sara” will also interact with the audience via a virtual reality system

Foster + Partners said the design is intended to have one of the lowest carbon footprints of any of the Expo’s pavilions, with a LEED target of platinum.

The design team said this is to be achieved through the implementation of both passive principles and active techniques – from rainwater capture on the roof garden, to the integration of photovoltaic cells.

“We are very proud to be chosen again to create the national pavilion for the UAE. our challenge has been to design for two climates – to create a naturally cool, comfortable space for visitors in Milan, while considering the pavilion’s ultimate reconstruction in the emirates, where there is a need to provide shade from the intense sun.” said Foster

Following its six-month run, the structure will be rebuilt in the UAE in the low-carbon Masdar City, Abu Dhabi.


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