UAE's Expo Milano pavilion heading to Masdar City

Abu Dhabi's clean energy hub will host the Foster-designed pavilion following the Expo 2015 event in Italy
The UAE pavilion at Expo 2015 Milano.
The UAE pavilion at Expo 2015 Milano.

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Masdar City is set to become home to UAE's Foster-designed Pavilion after the completion of the Milan Expo 2015 fair in November.

With land currently being readied for the sand dune-inspired structure, the Pavilion will be used as Masdar's visitor centre to showcase sustainability projects, reported The National.

"We are already working on the infrastructure of the plot that has been assigned for the pavilion in Masdar City," said Dr Nawal Al Hosnay, director of sustainability at Masdar.

"Once the Expo finishes we will start dismantling, packing of the pavilion and reconstruction here."

“This will become Masdar’s visitor centre to show the world the experiences, lessons learnt, projects and initiatives we have been working on. It will be a sustainability hub to showcase what we have done as a nation, our different plans and initiatives,” said Dr Al Hosany.

From the very beginning, the plan was to move the pavilion back to the nation's capital however elements of the Milan preview will be retained within the structure.

Plans for a cafe and retail units have also been discussed.

Dr Al Hosnay stated that sustainability was always at the heart of the project with Masdar offering input to address the expo theme Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.

"The decision was never an afterthought, the architects and contractors were briefed about it from very early days of planning,” she said.

“It is not easy to create a pavilion with only a temporary function into a permanent building, so that is why there is a lot of innovation.

“It was very challenging. But the leadership in the UAE took the decision not to contribute to building something that will go to waste in a few months. Instead, we have created a beautiful, successful pavilion that has a full life cycle.”

Commenting on the materiality, she said: “The materials and colours work in harmony with the climate, as well as reducing maintenance demands,” said Gerard Evenden, senior executive partner at Foster + Partners, the lead architect for the project.

“The design challenge has always been to make the pavilion flexible, so that the key elements could be assembled rapidly and with dry construction – mechanical fixings such as hooks and bolts – so it can be disassembled and re-installed in the UAE.

“The use of the high walls provides a shaded route in both climates, while internally, the design provides a range of column-free spaces that can be repurposed as necessary to meet a variety of future uses. The height of the walls offers protection from the sun via self-shading in both Milan and the UAE.”

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