Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 November 2019

Watch it rain and dip a toe in the Amazon as marvels of nature take over Expo 2020 Dubai

Forward-thinking countries will spread a sustainable message at the global spectacle next year

Renderings of the Brazilian pavilion at Expo 2020 in Dubai, which is set to offer an immersive experience for visitors. Courtesy Brazil Pavilion Expo 2020 Dubai
Renderings of the Brazilian pavilion at Expo 2020 in Dubai, which is set to offer an immersive experience for visitors. Courtesy Brazil Pavilion Expo 2020 Dubai

From wading in waters representing Brazil's Amazon basin to watching rain lash down inside the Dutch pavilion, a whole world of nature will be celebrated under one roof at Expo 2020 Dubai.

The largest and most ambitious Expo event in history will give nations a global platform to spread a vital message on sustainability and the crucial need to safeguard the wonders of the planet.

Architects mapping out grand plans for the historic world fair - being held in the Middle East for the first time from October 20, 2020 to April 10, 2021 - are eager to ensure millions of visitors enjoy a truly interactive and immersive experience.

People who don’t want to get their feet wet will be handed shoe covers when they enter the Brazilian pavilion.

As they walk in ankle-deep water, they will be sheltered from the sun by a large screen projecting stunning images of the Amazon rainforest.

“The idea was to create a big body of water. We want this water mirror to be the main architectural material of the pavilion,” said Milton Braga, an architect from MMBB, one of the firms that designed the structure.

The theme of the 4,000-square metre pavilion is to recreate the sights and sounds of fresh water sources in Brazil.

“We want to show the joy people can get from water,” he said.

Sunlight will filter in through shaded roof cover during the day and the images of the Amazon will be visible once the projectors are switched on at sunset.

There will be no air conditioning across the water feature that will roughly cover less than half the size of a football field.

To ensure visitors stay cool, the water body will be maintained at a low temperature and the pavilion is designed with gaps for ventilation in the huge screen cover.

The only section with air-conditioning will be a building within the pavilion comprising office spaces and event rooms.

Small dry paths will be carved out for seating areas, restaurants and exhibition spaces.

“It’s important to stress that the structure is a simple one that will be cheap to build,” Mr Braga said.

“The main investment is in the projectors more than in architecture.

“It will be very Brazilian in architecture because as a developing country we have a lot of demands and few resources.”

Water will play a key role in the Dutch pavilion too, said Michiel Raaphorst, architect director of V8, part of a consortium designing the structure.

Visitors will see a column of rain pouring down one section created using technology developed by Dutch firm SunGlacier that captures moisture from the air via solar panels in the roof.

“It will rain the desert and we will do this using the energy of the sun to create water that will be collected and used to irrigate crops inside,” said Mr Raaphorst.

About 13,500 edible plants will cover a biotope, a massive cone-shaped vertical farm that will form the centrepiece.

From the pavilion’s central section, visitors will step down about five metres to enter the darkened interior of the cone where they can see mushrooms being grown.

“They will feel the sensation of stepping out of the desert and into a cold and humid environment,” he said.

“The Dutch pavilion is about showing that even in harsh conditions you can create a biotope to live in.”

The Netherlands Pavilion, like many offerings at the global event, will have nature at its heart. Courtesy V8 Architects
The Netherlands Pavilion, like many offerings at the global event, will have nature at its heart. Courtesy V8 Architects

Floor tiles and wall panels made from fungi will be used to show how mushrooms can be repurposed as building material.

The pavilion aims to showcase the innovation of Dutch companies to tackle water scarcity and food security concerns.

The architects were delegates at a two-day International Conference for Sustainable Construction Material in Dubai.

The Philippines' pavilion will call on the world to protect precious marine life across a network of thousands of islands in the country. Courtesy Philippines Expo 2020
The Philippines' pavilion will call on the world to protect precious marine life across a network of thousands of islands in the country. Courtesy Philippines Expo 2020

Royal Pineda, the architect of the Philippines pavilion, said his country would focus on protection of coral reefs and marine life vital to the survival of thousands of the nation’s islands.

Grey graphite wire mesh that will be used to symbolise coral atolls will be sourced from fences previously used in depots, construction sites and sports arenas in the UAE.

The aim is to incorporate used and low cost material in the construction.

The Philippines had earlier revealed how its pavilion focused on the underwater world or the bangkota, an ancient Tagalog word for coral reef.

“We want to show how you can create good design with simple basic material,” Mr Pineda said.

“To be truly sustainable, you just need to make more effort.”

Updated: November 5, 2019 02:27 PM

SHARE

SHARE