Clément Blanchet Architecture in collaboration with Etienne Tricaud (AREP) have been shortlisted for the French pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. The winner will be announced in February. The proposal is intended to enhance both the virtual world and the real to support human communication, cultures and interactions. The pavilion will be built around the themes of Light and Mobility to create a hidden oasis with two vertical gardens facing one another.
As the designers state, French architecture and philosophy cannot be defined by a style but rather by a method. The management of all types of systems inside the building, the formal clarification of the program, as well as the monumental facade reminiscent of a typical Republican building, are the consequences of a long rational history. The project aims to look to the future and the digital revolution through a localized approach.
The signature element of the design is a screen-like facade that is made to be visible both during the day and at night, During the daytime, it will act as solar protection shielding the entrance plaza with a large wall. At night, the wall will turn translucent and display paintings, landscapes, and video art for everyone to see from the concourse and from the public terrace of the pavilion. The project hopes that as visitors passively absorb the endless flows of digital advertising or interact alone with a handheld device, the pavilion will engage them and create new windows to look through.
The pavilion is designed to be lightweight and low-carbon, as well as modular and rebuildable. In order to leave no trace on the site of construction, the pavilion will rest on superficial foundations that are easily removable and made possible by the structural design and an innovative gabion wall. The gabion walls will be made of sand, poured into canvas bags, kept in shape by a steel structural frame. The design will be made with numerous steel bricks and a green membrane and will be ballasted with sand within the first bricklayers to stabilize and bind the whole structure together. Atop, the upper structures will be built with the same structural frames as the gabion walls, resting on steels beams and CLT panels. The facades will be made of glazed panels and perforated metal sheets where solar protection is needed.