the german pavilion expo 2020 dubai by LAVA is topped with a freeform roof

the german pavilion expo 2020 dubai by LAVA is topped with a freeform roof

LAVA‘s design for the german pavilion at the expo 2020 dubai incorporates an airy construction with a freeform roof, enclosing a vertical campus of nature and technology. taking cues from previous german expo pavilions, such as mies van der rohe’s barcelona 1929, frei otto’s montreal 1967, and fritz bornemann’s spherical concert hall osaka 1970, the lightweight structure features a series of interlinked floating cubes for exhibition and events spaces.

the german pavilion expo 2020 dubai by LAVA is topped with a freeform roofthe cloudscape roof is supported by vertical steel cables

all images © facts and fiction | adunic | lava


LAVA has developed the concept also in response to dubai’s climate, referencing the local typology of the courtyard house with closed exterior facade and rooms oriented towards an inner airspace. the result is a composition of immersive exhibition experiences and enclosed air space that generates an intriguing exchange between interior and exterior spaces.

the german pavilion expo 2020 dubai by LAVA is topped with a freeform roof

the opaque membrane of the roof keeps out the heat, controls light and temperature in the atrium, and reduces production energy



from intelligent use of local climatic conditions to materials reuse, to construction, everything in the pavilion demonstrates LAVA’s philosophy of sustainability at multiple levels and establishes a strong visual symbol and example for visitors. the vertical structure comprises a landscaped layer on the two lower levels and the cloud roof, which is enveloped in an opaque, trapezoidal single-layer ETFE membrane. the metallic skin lets light rays into the interior through many small openings, similar to sunlight penetrating forest foliage, creating a continuously changing visitor experience.

native german plants hang from the terraces and roof creating comfort in the atrium and special light



‘it exemplifies LAVA’s work with natural geometries to generate efficient and beautiful structures and space through intelligent skins using integrative technology and cutting edge materials,’ mentions LAVA director, tobias wallisser, ‘and how buildings perform at many sustainable levels – environmental, structural and social.’ ‘the challenge is: how does a country physically represent itself in an exhibition like the expo?,’ adds director chris bosse, ‘world exhibitions give a glimpse of the future from the perspective of their time. our pavilion design shows germany’s contribution to that view of the future.’


the expo 2020 theme is ‘connecting minds, creating the future’ and it runs from 20 october 2020 to 10 april 2021.

the seemingly floating building elements form a journey through the campus learning experience – from enrollment to learning curriculum to graduation

spatial areas encourages visitors to have fun whilst learning

the ‘laboratories’, designed for exhibition, performance and dining, are grouped around the atrium

the open structure is formed from abstract elements and surprising materials



project info:


name: german pavilion expo 2020

architecture firm: LAVA (tobias wallisser, alexander rieck, chris bosse)

project team: christian tschersich (project director), christina ciardullo, courtney jones, maria pachi, jed finanne, wassef dabboussi, benjamin riess, niklas knap, joanna rzewuska

ministry: federal ministry for economic affairs and energy (bmwi)

management: koelnmesse gmbh

location: dubai, UAE

client: arge facts and fiction with adunic

status: expo 2020

size: 4,500m2; building height 27 m

concept design, planning and implementation: facts and fiction gmbh/adunic ag

structural engineers: schlaich bergermann partner

climate: transsolar

reuse: certain measures

MEP: energytec

fire: steinlehner

lighting: kardorff ingenieure

  • Congratulations Lava and German pavilion team.
    I can guarantee one thing , after expo2020 the landscape of dubai will certainly change with so many inspirations coming in.

    Rajesh says:

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