Here, the Foster + Partners studio sought to create not only a symbol-building, but also a space that binds the history of the Emirates to the theme of the Expo. Salem Al Ameri, the EXPO general administrator for the country, emphasized during his presentation of the project that the choices made are based on a specific strategy that seeks to reduce carbon emissions whenever and wherever possible. The building, in fact, has been awarded LEED ‘Platinum’ certification thanks to a combination of passive principles and active techniques, including the installation of photovoltaic cells and capturing rainwater on the roof garden. Customer The National Media Council, United Arab Emirates Architectural design Foster+Partners Lighting design DALD- David Atkinson Lighting Design Limited United Arab Emirates Pavilion The fact that the building has been deliberately designed so it can be recycled and reconstructed in the United Arab Emirates after the Expo is part of this vision.
And the presentation of the project through a live online press conference that eliminated flights by connecting London, Milan and Abu Dhabi, was also part of this global strategy to reduce carbon production and minimize human impact on the environment. The architectural design for the United Arab Emirates pavilion reproduces antique methods used to construct cities in the desert and their natural energy efficiency. The artificial lighting, designed by David Atkinson, enhances the pavilion’s architectural forms, while its all-LED luminaires helped it attain LEED Platinum status. The pavilion is located in a large area along the main Decumano avenue. From here, the visitors are drawn towards a space that deliberately recreates the effect of a canyon, by means of two 12- metre-high, undulating walls. The walkways that cross the pavilion resemble the narrow streets and courtyards of ancient desert cities, as well as their contemporary equivalents, already designed by Foster+Partners in their sustainable masterplan for Masdar City in Abu Dhabi.
The walls stretch for 40 metres, the entire length of the area, in a series of parallel waves, designed to evoke the ridges and textures of sand dunes. To communicate a specific sense of place, the textures of the walls have been created using scans taken in the desert. The materials used were also specifically chosen to show the different colours of sand found in the Emirates. These materials are highlighted by recessed adjustable Light Up Walk Professional luminaires installed along the walls and fitted with special filters that warm the original colour temperature of 2700 K up to approximately 2300 K. A ramp leads gently upwards from the entrance to the auditorium. Laser Blade Inout luminaires have been installed along the ramp as they blend perfectly with the structure and create a sense of consistency with the Laser Blade luminaires used inside the pavilion.
The public park area around the pavilion has also been designed to evoke the terrain and flora of the United Arab Emirates, and iPro luminaires have been used to highlight the trees. In the centre of the site there is a drum that contains an auditorium. The drum is a spectacular part of the project. It is covered by a distinctive metal structure which reflects the surrounding scenario during the day and is itself reflected in the dune-like walls. To create this effect at night, too, wall-mounted, wallwasher effect Linealuce luminaires have been positioned all around the upper edge of the drum. These wallwasher effect luminaires are located at a height of 11 metres, and have no “scalloping” effect so they reproduce the sensation of natural daylight perfectly.
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