Expo 2020 Dubai's Sustainability Pavilion designed by Grimshaw Architects expresses the ethos of addressing the impact of human activities on the environment, acting as a catalyst for collective action. With sustainability as one of the three core themes of the Expo, the pavilion named Terra will become a platform for highlighting the urgency of the issue, sharing knowledge and exploring ideas while also providing visitors with n immersive experience. As one of the legacy buildings, the project is set to become a Science Centre after the event and aims to operate as an autonomous construction in terms of energy and water supply.
The pavilion design draws inspiration from natural processes such as photosynthesis, with a morphology optimized for sunlight and humidity water harvesting. The canopy roof spans 130 meters and is cladded in photovoltaic panels, while around it, 18 "Energy Trees" provide shade and capture solar power. Much of the 6.300 square meters of exhibition space is located below ground, thus benefiting from the earth's insulation effect. The funnel shape stimulates natural ventilation and brings natural light inside the pavilion.
The structure's water management system collects condensation, which is filtered and disinfected, mixed with desalinated water harvested on-site and then used as potable water for the pavilion. The volume of water increases proportionally to the temperature of the outside air and the number of visitors. The area surrounding the pavilion, designed by local landscape architects desert INK, features several demonstration gardens showcasing new kinds of crops adapted for arid climates, which could inspire the development of a new food production system in the region.
Aside from demonstrating sustainability in a harsh environment, the pavilion provides visitors with an immersive experience that traces human relationships with nature, provoking a conversation around the environmental impact of contemporary society. Created by Thinc Design and educational NGO Eden Project, the pavilion's content explains key sustainability issues and concepts through interactive installations.
Under the theme "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future", organized around ideas of sustainability, mobility and opportunity, Expo 2020 Dubai brings together 192 national pavilions, as well as businesses and educational institutions. With a masterplan created by architecture firm HOK, the Expo features three thematic districts, each with a dedicated pavilion. After being postponed for a year due to the Covid pandemic, Expo 2020 Dubai will run from 1 October 2021 until 31 March 2022.