LAVA creates vertical campus for Expo 2020 Dubai

21 January 2019
  • LAVA


United Arab Emirates

German pavilion to showcase sustainable design

The Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (LAVA) has designed the German pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai, creating a vertical campus that blends nature with technology. The concept is informed by Germany’s history of lightweight pavilion design – including Mies van der Rohe’s for Barcelona 1929, Frei Otto’s for Montreal 1967 and Fritz Bornemann’s spherical concert hall for Osaka 1970. The tender for the Dubai pavilion, which can be viewed on the TenderStream database here, called for conceptual unity between designs for both the building and the exhibition.

In order to highlight the Expo theme, LAVA put sustainability at the heart of the design, from intelligent use of local climatic conditions to materials reuse and construction. Rather than a building in the traditional sense, the pavilion is composed of a vertical arrangement of volumes around a light and airy central atrium. This references the region’s courtyard houses, which feature closed exterior façades and rooms orientated towards an inner airspace. 

The vertical campus is housed between a landscaped layer on the lower two levels and a cloud roof. Technical facilities and service functions are situated at the back, while the front contains exhibition and restaurant spaces. Visitors will be taken on a journey assisted by an intelligent assistance system called ‘IAMU’, which will act as an invisible companion providing them with information. The tour will periodically pass by terraces along the atrium, giving an overview of the exhibition areas and opportunities for social interaction. 

Overall, the sequence of stacked building elements is conceived as a journey through the campus learning experience. Dietmar Schmitz, Commissioner General of the German pavilion, stated: "The concept has been designed to seamlessly combine exhibition and architecture, with a storyline that will grasp visitors’ interest and hold it from start to finish, inviting them to engage with the content and be actively involved in the experience.”

Lucy Nordberg
TenderStream Head of Research

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