AD talks with architect Santiago Calatrava about his iconic pavilion in Dubai
We may know the famous Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava for his organic, bone-like structures that make up some of the world’s most iconic buildings, including his World Trade Center design. Oculus. Now, Calatrava has designed the National Pavilion of the United Arab Emirates, as part of the 2020 World Expo in Dubai, which opens on October 20. More than 190 national pavilions are on display after being delayed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
As the first ever World’s Fair in the Middle East, this central pavilion is what the architect calls a symbol of the country’s “daring and daring spirit”. The pavilion, in the heart of the 500-acre exhibition area, steals the show with a round wing-shaped structure that symbolizes a hawk taking flight. “The conceptual framework was based on the inspiration of the grace and strength of a hawk, the national bird of the United Arab Emirates,” Calatrava said. “We hope visitors see it as a testament to the passion and dedication of the people of the UAE,” he explains, “serving as a reminder of the nation’s values, resilience and boundless future. “.
At its heart, an oculus skylight mirrors the shape of the exhibit’s logo, which features 28 wings crowning the roof. These movable wings open to reveal a grid of photovoltaic panels, which absorb sunlight and harvest energy to power the main electrical grid.
For visitors to the exhibit, the pavilion basement has a tranquil, jungle-like area with pools of water, exotic plants, and trees with shaded areas away from the scorching desert heat. On the main level, visitors can browse the exhibition which traces the country’s 50-year history. The goal of this design is sustainability, as the pavilion is not only energy efficient, but minimizes water consumption. The pavilion also uses local materials and optimizes indoor air quality. It is LEED Platinum certified and complies with Dubai Green Building regulations and specifications. Once the exhibition ends next spring, the building will be reused for other cultural events.
Recycling isn’t the only thing, however. “The concept and practice of sustainability is at the heart of our profession,” Calatrava said. “As architects, it is the duty of our profession to apply the principles of sustainability to our projects which can, in turn, achieve energy efficiency and water use, support the biodiversity of various landscapes, optimize waste management and use as many regional materials and resources as possible.
Originally appeared on Architectural summary