A first Glimpse Into Expo 2020: Dubai’s Terra Sustainability Pavilion

The Terra Sustainability Pavilion is the first UAE Pavilion to premiere before the opening of Expo Dubai 2020, On October 1st, 2021. February 18, 2021. Kyara Chams.

Terra, the sustainability pavilion at Dubai’s Expo 2020 which is due to open later this year, is welcoming visitors to showcase the United Arab Emirates’ commitment to meet the highest energy and environmental targets.

« UAE and Expo 2020’s commitment to sustainability has very much been at the forefront of the site design », Marjan Faraidooni, Chief Pavilions and Exhibitions Officer of Expo 2020, said in an email. 

The Sustainability Pavilion is built to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum green building standards, the highest available accreditation for sustainable architecture, said Faraidooni. Designed by UK-based Grimshaw Architects, the pavilion is designed to be net-zero for both energy and water, using smart technologies to meet sustainability targets which will also be used in all Expo 2020 infrastructures, acting as a catalyst for change for U.A.E. future constructions.

The canopy of the pavilion is topped with 1,500 solar panels and the tree-like structures (e-trees) rotate to face the sun throughout the day. All of this generates all the energy needed to power the whole building, explains Amnel, a volunteer. « It is built to use wind, water and sun to be entirely self-sufficient and sustainable. For example, the structure was built to imitate the traditional bedouin houses, that used wind power to create a natural air conditioning. »

Another major concern in matter of sustainability is the future of all those pavilions for the six-month event. Faraidooni said that more than 80% of the infrastructure will remain post-event, with the sustainability pavilion becoming a children and science center. « The long-term legacy of Expo 2020 has been at the heart of our planning from the very beginning. After Expo 2020 closes its doors, the physical site will transform into District 2020, a blueprint for the human-centric smart and sustainable cities of the future, » she said.

In addition to its sustainable architecture, the Terra pavilion offers an interactive experience composed of a journey through the beginnings of the UAE, an ocean and earth immersion, and an exhibition about environmental solutions for the future.

Due to the pandemic, Expo 2020 has been postponed and will open from October 1 until March 1, 2022. More than 190 countries will be participating during these six months. According to Faraidooni, Expo 2020 remains on track to open on time. All permanent EXPO-led buildings have been completed, while participating countries are working on putting the final touches of their pavilions and many including Australia, Estonia, Egypt and the US have already handed them over.

Terra is the first pavilion to open to the public. It is open from Tuesday to Saturday between 3pm-9pm until April 10.

The “energy trees” bear 4,912 photovoltaic panels. Expo Dubai. February 18, 2021. Kyara Chams.
The solar panels inside the canopy are inspired from natural processes such as photosynthesis. Expo Dubai. February 18, 2021, Kyara Chams..
The Laboratory of Future Values proposes solutions for issues of environment, population, food security, public health, sustainable development. Expo Dubai. February 18, 2021, Kyara Chams, Dubai, UAE.
The Expo 2020 global theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” is at the center of the Pavilion’s exhibition. Expo Dubai. February 18, 2021, Kyara Chams.
The immersive experiences, such as the ‘Under the Ocean” exploration are located underground to prevent from the sun’s effect and reduce energy consumption. February 18, 2021, Kyara Chams, Dubai, UAE.
Ahmed Abdelgadir, a freelance artist, completes a collaborative mural artwork on the theme of Expo 2020, with a message of hope, unity and symbols of the UAE. Expo Dubai. February 18, 2021, Kyara Chams.
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