Santiago Calatrava designs the UAE National Pavilion for Dubai Expo 2020

Santiago Calatrava’s design selected following global design competition

© Santiago Calatrava

Abu Dhabi, UAE – May 3rd 2016: The National Media Council has selected architect Santiago Calatrava’s design for the UAE Pavilion for Dubai World Expo 2020. Located facing the Al Wasl Plaza, which lies at the centre of the 200-hectare exhibition zone, the UAE Pavilion – whose design will be inspired by a falcon in flight – will represent the UAE to the 25 million visitors and participants from over 180 nations who are expected to visit the Expo from October 2020 to April 2021. 

Santiago Calatrava’s proposal was selected following a 7-month design competition managed by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, in its capacity as Program Manager. The contest saw 9 of the world’s most renowned architectural firms submit 11 concepts. Each design was evaluated against specific criteria, including how fully the design expressed the main theme of Expo 2020 “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” and how well it captured a distinct Emirati feel and a balance between the UAE’s past and future.

© Santiago Calatrava

Commenting on the appointment, Minister of State and National Media Council Chairman H.E. Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said, “The proposed design of the UAE Pavilion captures the story we want to tell the world about our nation. Our late founding father His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan used falconry expeditions to forge connections between tribes and to create a distinct national identity which ultimately led to the founding of the United Arab Emirates. Now, the falcon design will symbolise how we are connecting the UAE to the minds of the world and how as a global community we can soar to new heights through partnership and cooperation.”

Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai H.E. Reem Ebrahim Al Hashimy continued, “The pavilion will be one of the Expo's greatest icons. The design will evoke the pioneering spirit and power of connections that transformed the UAE from a collection of small, desert communities, into a global connection point. The UAE pavilion will become an important cornerstone in our site and will have a legacy plan that will reflect our hopes and ambitions for the many years to come.”

© Santiago Calatrava

Speaking of his appointment, architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava said, “I am deeply honoured that our practice has been chosen to design the national pavilion for Dubai Expo 2020, a project of national and global significance. I am confident that the final design will be a symbol of the bold and daring spirit of the UAE, reflected in what is poised to be the most inclusive and global Expo in history.”

The pavilion is expected to cover up to 15,000 square meters and will include numerous exhibition areas, an auditorium, food and beverage outlets and VIP lounges. It will be designed to meet LEED Platinum sustainable building standards.

© Santiago Calatrava

Masdar was appointed program manager by the National Media Council for the UAE Pavilion on the basis of the renewable energy company’s track record of successfully delivering highly innovative and sustainable projects, including the LEED Platinum-certified Siemens Middle East Headquarters.

Masdar CEO Mohamed Al Ramahi said, “We will capitalise on our experience developing Masdar City, which is on a journey to being the most sustainable urban development in the world, to ensure the delivery of innovative, high-performance pavilion and community space that embraces the Expo’s themes of mobility, opportunity and sustainability.”

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