The 42,000-square-foot Canadian Pavilion was formed for Expo 2020 in Dubai which will feature architectural elements to symbolize the strong cultural ties between the country and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The construction and trade crew has been on location since November along with cranes and heavy equipment. The concrete beam wall at the back of the structure has been completed. Structural steel work is being completed. Installation of the roof above the office area behind the building and the hosting site is now underway.
The next Expo will take place from October 20, 2020 to April 10, 2021 with the theme “Connecting Thoughts, Creating the Future,” but given the COVID-19 pandemic, officials are considering pushing it back a year. The Expo is expected to attract 25 million visits during the six-month exhibition. The pavilion will be a platform to showcase Canadian innovation, promote new business opportunities and attract international investment.
Alexandra Oldford, design manager at EllisDon, the contractor chosen to design and build the pavilion, said the construction had progressed well and should be ready for September.
“EllisDon, a Canadian company, has had a 15-year presence in the UAE. Being able to send projects to Canada in Dubai for those around the world to experience is a very interesting way for us to show our roots and express our commitment and appreciation to the region as a whole, “he said.
“We are very proud to know that the buildings we have designed and built will be visited by thousands of people representing more than 100 countries and that we can be part of helping deliver the Canadian message to the region.”
The geometry of the exterior screen grating is directly informed by the Trans-Canada Highway,
– Alexandra Oldford
As a result, structural design is very important. The Canadian Pavilion, designed by Toronto’s Moriyama & Teshima Architects, draws inspiration from many sources, unlike the multi-faceted shape of Canadian identity, and blends the country’s landscape with elements of Arabic architecture.
The pavilion will have a 360 degree round theater and a large exterior screen made using Canadian wood which will determine the outside shape of the building. Wooden screens evoke the experience of Canadian forests, defined by rhythmic verticals connected by field leaves such as lattices.
Oldford said the use of geometric lattices was an intentional cultural bond with mashrabiya, an exterior wooden screen that is characteristic of Arabian dwellings and used throughout the Middle East to provide privacy and shade.
“The geometry of the exterior screen lattice is directly informed by Trans-Canada Highway – the classic Canadian expression of mobility that connects diverse cultural and natural landscapes,” he said. “Altitude from sea level is mapped from coast to coast and transcribed into facade geometry.”
Oldford said the pavilion was “a controlled, but strong, presentation of the Expo pavilion, through the eyes of the Canadian people. “
Integration of traditional Canadian and Arabic expressions in the pavilion will result in a calm, elegant and timeless building, he said.
“The use of wooden screens in combination with the circular nature of the pavilion creates an emotional response for visitors who interpret very traditional Arabic elements in a contemporary way. We believe this makes for an impactful and memorable experience day and night.
“We believe that this will make a very long-awaited stop for visitors and state representatives, and that the combined experience with cultural presentations will make it memorable and iconic for our visitors and for Canadians.”
Interestingly, the pavilion is partly designed to promote Canadian values such as gender equality and sustainable practices. That is the sustainability wing of the Expo site. After the Expo, it will be dismantled and the material will be recycled or reused locally for future projects.
“The use of wood for mashrabiya, sustainable materials, and the integration of open entry halls utilizing regional climate are considerations made in addition to the recycling and reuse approach of Ellis Donon following the Expo,” said Oldford.
“Without giving too much, thematic elements of sustainability and climate change are woven along the storyline of public presentations, which puts Canada at the forefront of the global conversation that will take place at the Expo.”
The challenge of this endeavor is managing many project and construction teams, architects, designers, members of the public presentation team and Canada Global Affairs among three different time zones in Canada and Dubai.
In addition to EllisDon and Moriyama & Teshima, several companies were involved in the project, including U + A Architects architects, Lord Cultural Resources, NGX digital media consultants, Cubic exhibition contractors, structural consultants Thornton Tomasetti, Valcoustics, Hatch, and design-build partners Amana Bangunan .