Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava has won the design competition for the UAE pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020.
Calatrava’s design, inspired by a falcon in flight, beat competition from 10 other designs, with nine of the world’s top firms represented.
The Spaniard, who also designed the $1bn tower at Dubai’s Creek that will be ready in time for the event, said he was confident the final design would be a symbol of the “bold and daring spirit of the UAE”.
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The expo pavilion design competition took place over a seven-month period and was overseen by a jury of representatives from the National Media Council, Expo 2020 Dubai, Masdar and Emaar.
Designs were evaluated on how they expressed the expo theme – Connecting Minds, Creating the Future – captured the Emirati essence and showed a balance between the UAE’s past and future.
“The proposed design of the UAE Pavilion captures the story we want to tell the world about our nation,” said minister of state and NMC chairman Dr Sultan bin Ahmad Sultan Al Jaber.
“Our late founding father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan used falconry expeditions to forge connections between tribes and to create a distinct national identity which ultimately led to the founding of the United Arab Emirates.”
The UAE pavilion will be located facing the Al Wasl Plaza at the centre of the 200-hectare expo exhibition zone.
It is expected to cover up to 15,000 square metres and will include numerous exhibition areas, an auditorium, food and beverage outlets and VIP lounges.
“The pavilion will be one of the Expo’s greatest icons. The design will evoke the pioneering spirit and power of connections that transformed the UAE from a collection of small, desert communities, into a global connection point,” said UAE minister of state for International Cooperation and director general of Expo 2020 Reem Al Hashemi.
“The UAE pavilion will become an important cornerstone in our site and will have a legacy plan that will reflect our hopes and ambitions for the many years to come.”