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The UAE breaks ground on iconic pavilion at Expo 2020

The UAE has broken ground on its pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, with Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee, laying the foundation at a ceremony on Sunday.

The event also included the signing of the official agreement for the UAE’s participation in the Expo, which was signed by Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber, Minister of State and chairman of the National Media Council (NMC), and Reem Ebrahim Al Hashemi, Minister of State for International Cooperation and director-general of the Expo 2020 Office.

Arabtec Construction is building the pavilion. The company won the contract after competing against national and international companies. Arabtec has already delivered mega-projects throughout the UAE, including the Louvre Abu Dhabi, and the expansion of Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Shaikh Ahmad said in a statement: “The UAE Pavilion will undoubtedly be one of the most prominent attractions of Expo 2020, drawing in many millions to witness its futuristic design.”

He added: “It will be a wonderful opportunity to share our Emirati culture and achievements while showcasing our ambitious vision for the future. The Pavilion will be an architectural marvel that all seven Emirates can rightly take pride in, both now at the ground-breaking stage, during Expo, and in legacy when it will become a lasting icon of our nation.”

For his part, Al Jaber stated: “The UAE Pavilion is a prominent landmark at the Expo 2020 Dubai; it represents the host country and will be the main attraction for millions of visitors from all around the world.”

Completion

The pavilion covers an area of more than 15,000 square metres; it is made up of four floors with the top storey dedicated for hospitality with an area of 1,717 square metres. Meanwhile, a 588-square-metre mezzanine floor will house support units, and the two remaining floors consist of more than 12,000 square metres of exhibition space. The entire structure is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

“The Pavilion showcases the history of the UAE, which stretches over thousands of years, and tells the story of our wise leaders, their vision and their achievements that have transformed the UAE into an international role model. At the same time, the structure will introduce visitors to the UAE’s ambitious aspirations for the future, all the way till 2071,” Al Jaber added.

The NMC approved the design submitted by architect Santiago Calatrava after a seven-month design competition, where nine international architecture firms submitted 11 different concepts. Entries were evaluated based on strict criteria, including the extent to which they successfully embodied the main theme of the Expo (Connecting Minds, Creating the Future), as well as their representation of UAE heritage, balancing the country’s past and future.

“The UAE Pavilion will be the long-lasting legacy of Expo 2020 Dubai, bearing witness to the UAE’s success in organising not only the first Expo in the Middle East and Africa, but also one of the world’s best expos to date. This adds another achievement to the UAE’s ever-growing track record of successes,” Al Jaber said.

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