The UAE has broken ground on its pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, with Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee, laying the foundation at a ceremony on Sunday.
The event also included the signing of the official agreement for the UAE’s participation in the Expo, which was signed by Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber, Minister of State and chairman of the National Media Council (NMC), and Reem Ebrahim Al Hashemi, Minister of State for International Cooperation and director-general of the Expo 2020 Office.
Arabtec Construction is building the pavilion. The company won the contract after competing against national and international companies. Arabtec has already delivered mega-projects throughout the UAE, including the Louvre Abu Dhabi, and the expansion of Abu Dhabi International Airport.
The UAE Pavilion is designed in the shape of a flying falcon, symbolising the country’s leadership and pride. The design’s components reflect the values of openness, communication and tolerance, aligning with the main theme of the exhibition, which calls for cooperation with the international community to improve quality of life through sustainable development.
The pavilion covers an area of more than 15,000 square metres; it is made up of four floors with the top storey dedicated to hospitality with an area of 1,717 square metres. Meanwhile, a 588-square-metre mezzanine floor will house support units, and the two remaining floors consist of more than 12,000 square metres of exhibition space. The entire structure is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
The NMC approved the design submitted by architect Santiago Calatrava after a seven-month design competition, where nine international architecture firms submitted 11 different concepts. Entries were evaluated based on strict criteria, including the extent to which they successfully embodied the main theme of the Expo (Connecting Minds, Creating the Future), as well as their representation of UAE heritage, balancing the country’s past and future.
According to Al Jaber, UAE Pavilion will be the long-lasting legacy of Expo 2020 Dubai, bearing witness to the UAE’s success in organising not only the first Expo in the Middle East and Africa but also one of the world’s best expos to date. This adds another achievement to the UAE’s ever-growing track record of successes.