Like many of the other awe-inspiring works of Santiago Calatrava, the UAE Pavilion at the Dubai Expo 2020 is inspired by flight. The futuristic pavilion mimics the action and form of the wing of a falcon—the national bird of the United Arab Emirates.
The architects behind the pavilion describe it as a monument to the country’s “pioneering spirit.” They also say that the goal of the structure is to perfectly embody the theme of the Dubai Expo 2020–“Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.” The dynamic carbon fiber wings of the falcon certainly feel futuristic. In addition to the pavilion’s impressive form, the entire roof is able to open or close, which provides cover for the solar panels on the roof.
The operability of the roof truly acts as a testament to the flexibility of future architecture. “By channeling the powers of mobility, synchronized flow, and technological innovation, the relationship between architectural spaces and structural systems fuse together to create connections that connect the overall space with the main theme of Expo 2020,” explain the architects.
A massive sphere acts as the focal point of the pavilion’s interior. This sphere itself houses a 200-person auditorium. The stark-white interior is full of exhibition spaces designed to celebrate the history and future of the United Arab Emirates. These ideals are visible in the described programs, but also in the inherent optimism of the architectural style. “We hope that visitors see it as a testament to the passion and dedication of the people of the UAE,” the architects state, “serving as a reminder of the values of the nation, its resilience, and boundless future.”
The UAE Pavilion has achieved LEED Platinum, the highest achievement in the third-party certification system. It is also compliant with the Dubai Green Building Regulations and Specifications, or DGBR.