Ground has been broken on the UAE’s pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai. The 15,000 square metre structure is set to be finished by the end of 2019.
Sheikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee, laid the foundation yesterday.
The pavilion will be built by Arabtec Construction who previously built the Louvre Abu Dhabi, and the expansion at Abu Dhabi International Airport. It has been designed in the shape of a flying falcon, to symbolise the nation’s leadership and pride. Additional elements highlight openness, communication and tolerance. These dovetail with the title of the expo – Connecting Minds, Creating the Future. The aim is cooperation with the international community, improving quality of life via sustainable development.
“The UAE Pavilion will undoubtedly be one of the most prominent attractions of Expo 2020, drawing in many millions to witness its futuristic design,” said Shaikh Ahmad. “The Pavilion will be an architectural marvel that all seven Emirates can rightly take pride in, both now at the ground-breaking stage, during Expo, and in legacy when it will become a lasting icon of our nation.”
The event also included the signing of the official agreement for the UAE’s participation in the expo. This was signed by Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber, Minister of State and chairman of the National Media Council (NMC), and Reem Ebrahim Al Hashemi, Minister of State for International Cooperation and director general of the Expo 2020 Office.
“The UAE Pavilion is a prominent landmark at the Expo 2020 Dubai,” said Al Jaber. “It represents the host country and will be the main attraction for millions of visitors from all around the world.”
The pavilion is set to spread 15,000 square metres over four floors. The top storey will be set aside for hospitality. Support units will fill the mezzanine floor. The other two floors will be given over to more than 12,000 square metres of exhibition space. Completion is expected by the end of 2019.
The building has been designed by architect Santiago Calatrava. A seven-month design competition saw nine international architects putting forward 11 different concepts. Calatrava is renowned for his sculptural style, often taking inspiration from living organisms. He is best-known for the City of Arts and Sciences and Opera House in Valencia, the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas, and the Milwaukee Art Museum.
“The Pavilion showcases the history of the UAE, which stretches over thousands of years,” said Al Jaber. “At the same time, the structure will introduce visitors to the UAE’s ambitious aspirations for the future, all the way till 2071.”