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A Milan Expo pavilion every day | Day 2: The UAE
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A Milan Expo pavilion every day | Day 2: The UAE

For the 2015 Milan Expo, we’re bringing you a pavilion every day, so that you can explore the fair even if you can’t make it to Italy. Today we’re bringing you pavilion number two: The UAE.


The United Arab Emirates’ pavilion was designed by the architects at Foster + Partners and brings a taste of a desert city to, well, the not-at-all desert city of Milan. Twelve metre high rippled walls are influenced by ancient design principles and bring to mind the narrow pedestrian streets of the Middle East, as well as the textures of the famous desert sand dunes. One of the biggest challenges for the architects was to create a structure suitable both for the Expo itself, but which could also be reconstructed back in the sweltering heat of the UAE sun in the low-carbon Masdar City. These naturally energy-efficient self-shading walls were the perfect solution. Visitors enter into the mouth of a canyon-like space, and then winding paths guide them through the 140 metre site, eventually leading to a state-of-the-art auditorium at the centre of the site, all the while introducing visitors to the traditional culture and values of the Emirates and Emiratis through a media-rich exhibit. At the end of the path, visitors can find a green oasis, showing off the flora of the country.
The Emirates’ contribution to Expo highlights the real challenges of feeding the planet, particularly related to land, food, energy and water. It even goes so far as to share some of the UAE’s clever solutions to these problems, as the desert state is already facing some of the issues which the rest of the world may face in the years to come due to climate change. Gerard Evenden, Senior Executive Partner and Studio Head, Foster + Partners stated, “Our pavilion is unique for its representation of the desert landscape and planning traditions of the Emirates. In terms of climate and water scarcity, the UAE is experiencing today what the world will experience tomorrow. Our design highlights the challenges of sustaining life in a desert climate, while demonstrating how efficient passive design solutions can help to support sustainable modern communities. Like the UAE pavilion in Shanghai, the structure is designed to be dismantled and rebuilt after the Expo.”


Check out some images of the UAE pavilion below, and come back tomorrow for Pavilion #3…

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