Santiago Calatrava Unveils Design for the Qatar Pavilion at EXPO 2020

Designed by architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava, the Qatar Pavilion’s design draws inspiration from the four elements represented on the Coat of Arms of Qatar and plays tribute to the nation’s rich culture heritage

Qatar Pavilion is one of two major Santiago Calatrava-designed structure’s to be completed at the Expo 2020


Dubai, UAE (August 24, 2021) – Santiago Calatrava is pleased to unveil the design for the Qatar Pavilion at EXPO 2020 in Dubai, UAE. The Pavilion’s design combines elements of sculpture and structure resulting in an architectural beacon representative of Qatar’s vision of the future, while paying tribute to the nation’s rich cultural heritage.

The Pavilion’s design draws inspiration from the four elements represented on the Coat of Arms of Qatar; two crossed and curved swords, encompassing a Dhow and Island with palm trees. The expressive form of the Pavilion eloquently combines and translates these cultural elements to capture movement, mobility, strength and tradition. Calatrava’s design emulates a modern interpretation which symbolizes Qatar’s progressive outlook of the future while remaining true to its culture and heritage.

Covering an area of approximately 960 square meters, the Qatar Pavilion accommodates a total built up area (BUA) of approximately 620 square meters. The iconic, intersecting structures of the main building will ascend upwards to nearly 15 meters in height, with an adjacent sculptural monument rising to 20 meters in height. Internally, the Pavilion will consist of two main galleries and exhibition spaces, providing highly engaging, inclusive, and experiential environments for visitors.

In collaboration with Santiago Calatrava, main contractor ALEC FITOUT and the project’s Engineer of Record Aurecon, the Qatar Pavilion is anticipated for completion September 2021. The close collaboration, flexibility and open communication between all parties has facilitated the rapid design and construction progress, culminating in an impressive construction period of just five months, having started in May 2021.

Design of the Qatar Pavilion

Santiago Calatrava’s philosophy is grounded in the belief that each innovative design must emanate from its cultural context, conveying traditional sensibility through modern architecture to create truly inspiring structures. Micael Calatrava, CEO of Calatrava International has described the design process for the Qatar Pavilion as follows:

Inspiration is derived from Qatar’s national emblem to truly capture the essence and vision of the nation. The architectural gesture and structural form of the Pavilion, which houses the entire visitor experience, mirrors the shape of the Dhow and its grand sails. The sculptural monument at the entrance of the Pavilion represents an abstract translation and fusion of two intertwined Palm trees, while the reflective pools and integrated water features surrounding the Pavilion, represent the Arabian Gulf which encompasses the nation of Qatar.”

Once visitors enter the Qatar Pavilion, they are guided through an immersive experience whereby a deeply symbiotic relationship between the visual arts and the internal spaces engage, inspire and inform them about the past, present and future of Qatar.

Expedited Construction

Construction on the project is at an advanced stage and with the expedited schedule of five months, the Qatar Pavilion will reach completion in advance of Expo 2020’s anticipated opening on October 1st, 2021.

Through dedication, hard work and close collaboration, the project team, led by Micael Calatrava, applied an integrated design and accelerated construction strategy for the Qatar Pavilion at EXPO 2020. The approach follows a non-linear, non-traditional design methodology ensuring project delivery in a very aggressive timeline of five months.

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