Dubai, seemingly the architectural playground of choice in recent times, was selected to host the 2020 World Expo three years ago. The event, which will last six months, will have the theme of “Connecting Minds, Creating Future.” Not wanting to miss an opportunity to flaunt extravagant designs, Danish architect Bjarke Ingles and Brits Norman Foster and Nick Grimshaw have wasted no time jumping on the Dubai bandwagon.
Their three firms, BIG, Foster + Partners and Grimshaw Architects have all received the green light to contribute pavilions touching on themes like mobility, sustainability, and opportunity. His Highness, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Expo Higher Committee in partnership with Emaar Properties, unveiled the winners of the competition this month.
BIG will design the “Opportunity Pavilion” which showcases an extravagant undulating facade curved in three dimensions. The structure invites audiences in by revealing the central lobby and core of the pavilion which also houses an array of trees and plant life.
Foster + Partners put forward their “Mobility Pavilion,” which is equally outlandish and curvaceous. Foster reportedly drew on his experiences when master-planning Masdar City—a city in Abu Dhabi that will rely solely on renewable energy.
Finally Grimshaw Architects’ “Sustainability Pavilion” maintains the trend toward elliptical design, with a replica of a large solar collector. Usually seen in the desert, similar designs require a tower to focus the light onto the collector (and others in the vicinity). Here, the large disc, which is acutely curved to form a bowl, is surrounded by many smaller versions that stand freely around it.
The three pavilions make up only a fraction of the 200 hectare site of the Expo, expected to open in four years.