Road to Expo 2020: 3-storey UAE Pavilion at Milan Expo unveiled

As the race to the Milan World Expo 2015 reaches its final lap, Emirates 24|7 has an exclusive behind-the-scenes details of the architectural design of the UAE Pavilion, a three-storey landmark project that will serve as a lead up to Expo 2020 Dubai.

Curvilinear walls that create an impression of 12-metre high sand dunes will lead visitors through a rift ‘canyon’, to reveal a state-of-the-art amphitheatre, all of which has been designed by architects Foster + Partners.

Under the theme ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’, the UAE Pavilion also tucks away a secluded heritage oasis – its outdoor arena – set between shaded palm trees.

This exhibition courtyard will also bear witness to live entertainment acts through the period of the Milan Expo 2015, which will be hosted for a second time by the historical Italian city from May 1 until October 31.

The South Korea-based A&A Company, an event and exhibition agency that is spearheading the project at the UAE Pavilion, revealed further details as Emirates 24|7 toured the exhibition site.

“We have divided the UAE Pavilion into four distinct zones: Block A will house the VIP majlis area, Block B is the theatre or what we call the ‘Drum’, Block C will be the Palm Oasis and Block W is what we call the ‘Canyon’,” said a representative of the general contractor company.

The ground level of the canyon will host an exhibition area, while an upper floor will serve as the live entertainment area.

GSU panels will run along the canyon walls, depicting UAE’s achievements in conservation and sustainability, marked over the decades.

At the end of this winding canyon is the ‘Drum’, a golden structure that will host groups of 150 people in a circular auditorium to showcase the short Emirati film, ‘The Family Tree’.

The film will follow the efforts of a young Emirati girl who travels through time to uncover the value of safeguarding the world for a sustainable future.

The Drum will open into a corresponding auditorium that will feature an interactive virtual reality session with  young ‘Sara’ from the film, who will teach members of the audience the ethos of individual conservation efforts.

According to the contractors of the UAE Pavilion, construction of the mammoth structure commenced in August 2014; work is expected to be completed by April 27 when the World Expo 2015 site will have a soft opening.

Following its six-month run, this demountable structure will be rebuilt in the UAE and find a home in the low-carbon Masdar City, Abu Dhabi.

According to the UAE Expo 2015 official website, the country’s National Media Council assembled a team that includes architects Foster + Partners.

The architects state they took inspiration from the UAE’s curvilinear sand dunes and sustainable traditional architecture to design the pavilion.

Organisers say the exhibition itself will explore the interplay between land, energy and water in producing sufficient, safe food, and age-old traditional Emirati values of sustainability and sharing that are motivating the search for innovative solutions to the challenges that we all face.

Held every five years, the Milan Expo 2015 will lead us into Expo 2020 Dubai, an exhibition that is described as ‘a key meeting point for the global community to share innovations and make progress on issues of international importance such as the global economy, sustainable development and improved quality of life for the world’s population’.

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