• Client: Dutch Government
  • Location: Dubai, UAE
  • Year: 2018

Dutch/Dubai 2020 Expo Pavilion

Dubai, UAE - Our proposal for the Dutch pavilion at the 2020 Expo in Dubai is structured around three pillars: Energy, Water and Food. The pavilion, located in the Sustainability section of the Expo, consists of exhibition spaces, a facade, all supporting facilities and a Dune landscape.

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Dutch/Dubai 2020 Expo Pavilion

As the climate in Dubai is dry and hot, more than 80% of the food has to be imported. The Nexus - the central attraction of the pavilion - is an alternative, sustainable solution to living in this landscape. With a nod to traditional greenhouses, the Nexus is the evolved and locally adapted version of the greenhouse. It not only allows vegetables to grow locally, but collects the water and energy needed for crops to grow. The 12 meter high, transparent column of the Nexus shows the principles of the main themes: food cultivation, water collection and energy generation. The main exhibition space, which includes the Nexus, is designed as a ‘thinking space’ where visitors can quickly pass through, or relax and contemplate with the help of the sound art and visuals. Enveloping the pavilion, the facade also includes a visual nod to the traditional greenhouse, consisting of seven modules derived from a typical greenhouse construction system. The infill of the frames is a simple insect mesh, a typical product used in Dutch greenhouses, which repels 50% of the sunlight, thus providing substantial reduction of the heat load. In order to allow passers-by to catch a glimpse of the Nexus, the top of the veil is lifted by splitting the facade at the center of the entrance.

Project data

LocationDubai, UAE
AssignmentWorld Expo Pavilion
ClientDutch Government
TeamHans Smolenaers, Timo Cents, Joep van Baast, Robert Kruijt, kees Neven
In collaboration withUNStudio
Copyright imagesArcadis - UNstudio
Award2d place
Dutch/Dubai 2020 Expo Pavilion
Dutch/Dubai 2020 Expo Pavilion
Dutch/Dubai 2020 Expo Pavilion
Dutch/Dubai 2020 Expo Pavilion