LAVA’s design for the German Pavilion Expo 2020 Dubai is a vertical campus of nature and technology, taking cues from the local architecture and Germany’s history of outstanding lightweight pavilion design. Demonstrating the Expo theme, everything from intelligent use of local climatic conditions to materials reuse to construction is sustainable.
The airy construction is an efficiently stacked volume of space. A visually striking freeform roof encloses a spacious volume and an intelligent ensemble of interlinked floating cubes housing exhibition and event spaces. The open structure is formed from abstract elements and surprising materials, a composition of repetition and differentiation. It also responds to the local climate and references the local courtyard house with closed exterior facade and rooms oriented towards an inner airspace.
An opaque trapezoidal single-layer ETFE membrane creates a large volume of space with a minimal enveloping surface and highly efficient material. 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. Supported by vertical steel cables, the cloudscape roof keeps out the heat and controls light and temperature in the atrium. It reduces production energy, optimises resources by weight savings and creates the technical conditions for a pleasant visitor experience.
A central atrium, a green, open space, connects all visitor areas and allows many surprising perspectives. The composition of exhibition spaces, event area and restaurants are interwoven through these manifold visual relationships. The pavilion tour brings visitors continuously onto the terraces of the open atrium, providing an overview of their location within the pavilion, the variety of topics and social interaction with other visitors. Native German plants hang from the terraces and roof creating comfort in the atrium and special light.
The vertical campus courses between a landscaped layer on the lower two levels and the cloud roof. The rear east is a vertical backbone with technical facilities and service functions, and the front western side houses exhibition and restaurant spaces layered horizontally. The sequence of stacked seemingly floating building elements is a journey through the campus learning experience – from enrolment to learning curriculum to graduation. The ‘laboratories’, purposedesigned for exhibition, performance and dining, are grouped around the atrium.
The design continues LAVA’s philosophy of sustainability at multiple levels, a
strong visual symbol and example for visitors, by:
1. Material-optimised construction based on nature’s geometries.
2. Passive energy saving measures applied at the very outset in the design – for
example the stacked building elements not only trap vertical airspace, but
also minimise direct sunlight creating a sheltered atrium with minimal solar
input and optimised climate.
3. Intelligent arrangement creates different spatial situations, not through
complex technology, but rather through digitised production processes.
4. Minimisation of grey energy and operational energy.
5. Graduated climatic zones of individual areas allow reduced energy use, whilst
supporting the diversified room experience for visitors.
6. Reuse of building parts and materials – using algorithms to reduce waste
7. Barrier-free access. Source by LAVA.
- Location: Dubai, UAE
- Architect: LAVA
- Principal: 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
- Concept design, planning and implementation: ADUNIC AG
- Structural engineers: Schlaich Bergermann Partner
- Climate: Transsolar
- Reuse: Certain Measures
- MEP: energytec
- Fire: Steinlehner
- Light: Kardorff Ingenieure
- Management: Koelnmesse GmbH
- Ministry: Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)
- Client: ADUNIC
- Size: 4,500m2; building height 27 m
- Year: 2018
- Images: Courtesy of LAVA