rippled UAE pavilion by foster + partners opens at expo milan 2015 rippled UAE pavilion by foster + partners opens at expo milan 2015
may 04, 2015

rippled UAE pavilion by foster + partners opens at expo milan 2015

rippled UAE pavilion by foster + partners opens at expo milan 2015
image © designboom

 

 

 

the united arab emirates pavilion at expo 2015 has opened, bringing the planning principles of the traditional desert city to milan. designed by renowned british architects foster + partners, the pavilion’s interior of self-shaded streets evokes the experience of the UAE’s ancient communities, while demonstrating the natural energy efficiency of their compact urban form.

united arab emirates pavilion expo milan 2015 foster and partners designboom
the pavilion features an interior of self-shaded streets
image © foster + partners

 

 

 

the pavilion occupies a large site close to the center of the expo and is accessed via its main circulation axis, known as the ‘decumanus’. from here, visitors are drawn into the mouth of a canyon-like space, defined by two undulating 12 meter-high walls. influenced by ancient planning principles, the paths through the pavilion are suggestive of the narrow pedestrian streets and courtyards of the ancient desert city.

united arab emirates pavilion expo milan 2015 foster and partners designboom
visitors are drawn into the mouth of a canyon-like space
image © designboom

 

 

 

the walls continue throughout the 140 meter site in a series of parallel waves, unifying the visitor spaces within a dynamic formal language designed to express the ridges and texture of sand dunes. to convey a distinctive sense of place, the texture of the walls derives from a scan taken in the desert. the glassfiber reinforced concrete panels are supported by a steel frame, which can be easily demounted and reconstructed for the pavilion’s eventual relocation in the UAE.

united arab emirates pavilion expo milan 2015 foster and partners designboom
the walls continue throughout the 140 meter site in a series of parallel waves
image © filippo poli

 

 

 

a ramp leads gently upwards from the entrance towards the auditorium, and augmented reality devices help to bring the story of the emirates to life. the centrally positioned auditorium is contained within a drum at the heart of the site. after the screening, visitors follow a path through further interactive displays and digital talks, including a special exhibit celebrating dubai as host city for the 2020 expo. at the end of the exhibition trail visitors reach a green oasis, designed to evoke the native terrain and flora of the UAE.

united arab emirates pavilion expo milan 2015 foster and partners designboom
the façades convey the ridges and textures associated with sand dunes
image © foster + partners

 

 

 

our challenge has been to design for two climates – to create a naturally cool, comfortable space for visitors in milan, while considering the pavilion’s ultimate reconstruction in the emirates, where there is a need to provide shade from the intense sun, explained lord foster. ‘the design reflects our investigations into the form of ancient cities and our appreciation for the desert landscape. it also maximizes the opportunities presented by the elongated site – the dramatic canyon-like entrance welcomes people inside, and the channels between the high walls provide intuitive circulation, naturally leading visitors to the auditorium, exhibition and courtyard spaces.’

united arab emirates pavilion expo milan 2015 foster and partners designboom
the texture of the walls derives from a scan taken in the desert
image © designboom

 

 

 

gerard evenden, senior executive partner and studio head at foster + partners continued, ‘our pavilion is unique for its representation of the desert landscape and planning traditions of the emirates. in terms of climate and water scarcity, the UAE is experiencing today what the world will experience tomorrow. our design highlights the challenges of sustaining life in a desert climate, while demonstrating how efficient passive design solutions can help to support sustainable modern communities. like the UAE pavilion in shanghai, the structure is designed to be dismantled and rebuilt after the expo.’

 

see designboom’s previous coverage of the UAE pavilion here.

united arab emirates pavilion expo milan 2015 foster and partners designboom
the glassfiber reinforced concrete panels are supported by a steel frame
image © designboom

united arab emirates pavilion expo milan 2015 foster and partners designboom
the pavilion will be relocated in the UAE for dubai’s expo 2020
image © designboom

united arab emirates pavilion expo milan 2015 foster and partners designboom
the two undulating 12 meter-high walls
image © filippo poli

united arab emirates pavilion expo milan 2015 foster and partners designboom
a green oasis evokes the native terrain and flora of the UAE
image © foster + partners

united arab emirates pavilion expo milan 2015 foster and partners designboom
the rear of the UAE pavilion
image © designboom

 

 

project info:

 

project: UAE pavilion – milan expo 2015
location: milan, italy
client: the national media council, united arab emirates
architect: foster + partners
foster + partners design team: norman foster, david nelson, spencer de grey, gerard evenden, martin castle, john blythe, andre ford, giovanna sylos labini, ronald schuurmans, daniel skidmore, andrea soligon, ho-ling cheung, francis aish, henrik malm, sam joyce, andrew jones
collaborating architect: marco visconti
structural engineer: foster + partners
mechanical and electrical engineer: foster + partners / manens-tifs
local collaborating fire engineer: GAE engineering s.r.l.
quantity surveyor: fraser randall
landscape consultant: WATG
lighting consultant: david atkinson
acoustic consultant: sandy brown associates
project manager: fraser randall

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