Grimshaw Architects, Sustainability pavilion

Shiny new designs befitting Dubai’s reputation for the big and bold have been revealed for the Expo 2020.

Foster + Partners, BIG and Grimshaw Architects beat 13 other practices in a competition to create centrepiece pavilions for the world’s fair, themed around opportunity, mobility and sustainability.

‘Three designs stood out, amidst tough competition, as great future structures that will mark our Expo as exceptional,’ said Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of the Expo Higher Committee and CEO of Emirates Airline.

Grimshaw Architects, Sustainability pavilion
Grimshaw Architects, Sustainability pavilion

Grimshaw Architects have conceived a satellite-like structure for its Sustainability pavilion, which in the longer term will become a tech cluster.

Foster + Partners’ Mobility pavilion references some of Dubai’s most iconic designs in the past four decades, including the 328 m Index Tower and the firm’s own masterplan for Masdar City.

Foster + Partners, Mobility pavilion
Foster + Partners, Mobility pavilion

BIG’s Opportunity pavilion stems from its design philosophy that urban life is at the intersection of culture, technology and the global economy.

BIG, Opportunity pavilion
BIG, Opportunity pavilion

All three structures will form the heart of the 2 km sq Expo site and are intended to leave a lasting legacy on Dubai’s urban landscape.

‘Our theme pavilions will play a central role in bringing this to life,’ added Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

Pavilions from past world’s fairs have had mixed fortunes. Some, such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris or Seattle’s Space Needle, have become emblems of their respective cities while others – the New York State Pavilion, for example – have been abandoned.

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