The proposed replacement for BIG’s scrapped Opportunity pavilion at the Expo 2020 in Dubai has been unveiled
The scheme is backed by UK-based exhibition design group Event Communications working with Australian practice Cox Architecture and, at 4,500m², is significantly smaller than BIG’s original 12,000m² concept.
Bjarke Ingels’ practice was originally selected to mastermind the structure, one of the three centrepiece pavilions for the Expo, alongside buildings by Foster + Partners and Grimshaw. Those firms have been retained to design, respectively, the mobility and sustainability-themed pavilions.
But the organisers of the huge world fair in the Arab Emirate went cool on the Danish superstar’s ambitious plans, which featured a huge roof and was designed to look like a ‘billowing curtain’ (see below). It began the global search for a new design team last year.
The fully recyclable new proposal will be built from 2,500 tonnes of stone, and features a spiral-shaped canopy made from around 111km of woven rope.
Cox Architecture principal director Steve Woodland described its pavilion as a ‘welcoming space that draws people together and sets them on a fun and engaging journey that progressively immerses them as active participants in a mind-awakening experience’.
He said: ‘The pavilion will feature a rope-and-light theme throughout, with intertwined ropes reflecting the coming together of people to contribute to human progress, giving them a sense of fulfilment and encouraging further action.’
The structure will also house Small Steps, Big Leaps, the Expo’s global best practice programme, which calls for every World Expo to ‘showcase successful and impactful solutions’ to the world’s biggest challenges.
All three pavilions will sit within the 2km² Expo site surrounding its main meeting plaza and are planned to showcase the latest ideas, innovations and developments.
The six-month-long Expo will run from October 2020 to April 2021 and is expected to attract 25 million visitors.
The original three pavilions
Opportunity pavilion by BIG – now scrapped
Mobility pavilion by Foster + Partners
Sustainability pavilion by Grimshaw