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Dubai Expo 2020: Spectacular designs chosen for centrepiece pavilions

Winning designs have been chosen for three of the major pavilions that will form a major part of Dubai’s Expo 2020.

The designs were selected following an international architecture competition run by Emaar Properties on behalf of the Expo 2020 committee. It sought ideas for the three theme pavilions, ­titled Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability, that form a central part of Expo 2020’s theme, Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.

The design chosen for the Opportunity pavilion was submitted by Bjarke Ingels Group, a cadre of architects and designers in Copenhagen and New York. Its designs are influenced by a belief that contemporary urban life is shaped by a confluence of cultural exchange, global economic trends and communication technology. The firm is known for its innovative approach to architecture and is also building a new headquarters for Google.

The Mobility pavi­lion is being designed by the London-based practice Foster + Partners, which has already created designs in the UAE for Investment Corporation of Dubai and Brookfield Properties’ new Brookfield Place office tower in Dubai and the Zayed National Museum in Abu Dhabi.

The Sustainability pavilion is being created by Grimshaw, the eco-architecture specialist behind the UK’s Eden Centre.

The three pavilions will surround the central Al Wasl Meeting Plaza, which will be the focal point of the 2 square kilometre Expo site.

The designs were revealed yesterday by the Emaar Properties chairman Mohamed Alabbar and the chairman of the Expo Higher Committee, Dubai Airport and Emirates airline, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

Sheikh Ahmed said that Expo 2020 would be “a festival of human ingenuity”.

“The competition attracted a truly stellar line-up of architectural firms that each put forward designs that impressed all those involved in the selection process,“ he said. “After careful study and consideration, three designs stood out, amid tough competition, as great future structures that will mark our Expo as exceptional.”

One of the criteria of the design is that the structures have the flexibility and longevity to continue as landmarks and functional structures after the six-month event finishes in 2021.

Mr Alabbar added that the winning designs “further build on the UAE and Dubai’s proven record in iconic architectural design, particularly when considering their long-term functionality, sustainability and contribution to Expo 2020’s legacy and Dubai’s long-term development”.

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