The United Arab Emirates pavilion for Expo 2014 was presented this week in a video-conference linking Milan, London and Abu Dhabi, with a project combining sustainability and technology, and said to have cost €50 million.
The stand has been designed by Foster + Partners, the London studio founded by Sir Norman Foster and one of the world’s most famous architecture companies. It will recreate some of the elements of the Gulf, with its gardens and palm trees, its sinuous entry corridor, a canyon of sand 12 metres high and 140 long, a three-storey pavilion with vegetable gardens on the roof supplying the restaurants with fresh food. Visitors entering the pavilion will be handed a tablet with which they can interact with many of the objects they will find along their way. The designers promise that the audiovisual journey through the pavilion will be enthralling, interactive, educational and entertaining.
The UAE commissioner for Expo, Salem al-Ameri, explained that the population of the Emirates has grown from 225,000, when the federation was founded in 1971, to today’s 9 million. “We want to show our visitors how we are meeting this challenge,” he said, referring to the “food for thought” theme of Expo.
The 4,000 sqm stand – one of the largest and most central of the Expo – will be inspired by the relationships between water, food and energy, and will illustrate the Masdar project, the 100 per cent eco-sustainable town being built by Foster + Partners in the UAE and due for completion in 2016. Construction will be in material which absorbs carbon dioxide, enabling a 30 per cent saving in energy costs. The Foster stable won the contract after their UAE pavilion for the Shanghai Expo 2010 was elected the best structure of the fair. The stand will be shipped to the Emirates and reassembled there as an attraction after the exhibition is over.