A golden sand dune-inspired structure begins to take shape as Foster + Partners recently broke ground upon their UAE pavilion for the 2010 Shanghai Expo. A showcase of passive environmental design, the pavilion creates a symbolic reference with the desert landscape over which each of the seven emirates presides. As if modeled by prevailing winds, the pavilion mimics the duality between the rough and smooth sides of a sand dune while making the most of its site. The northern façade allows natural light to filter through its porous structure, while the southern façade is enclosed to minimize heat infiltration during the exhibit.

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Built on a grid system out of stainless steel panels, the pavilion can be easily constructed and deconstructed on site, ensuring that it will find future use (if given the a proper site) after the close of the 2010 Shanghai Expo. However, don’t confuse its mobile constructability with the overall presence of the pavilion – as one of the largest exhibition spaces for the expo, the pavilion encloses more than 3,000 square meters of exhibition space allowing for 450 people to explore its interior while making a statement of the UAE’s view on sustainability.

Gerard Evenden, the project’s Senior Partner says: “The cities of the UAE rise from the desert and the pavilion will similarly emerge to form a natural counterpoint to Shanghai’s urban landscape. Like a sand dune, it is oriented to the direction of the wind and is a powerful example of an organic and highly effective passive environmental design.”

+ Foster + Partners

+ 2010 Shanghai Expo