Image of UAE pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai shortlisted for photography prize

The public can cast their vote and decide on the winner of the global Art of Building competition

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A photograph of the UAE pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai has been shortlisted in a competition that showcases architectural excellence from around the world.

The Art of Building competition, organised by the Chartered Institute of Building in the UK, has shortlisted 12 images from more than 1,500 global entries. The works include a pink church on a deserted beach in Qinhuangdao, China, Berlin’s Humboldt University Library, an unusual and colourful staircase in Hong Kong, the juxtaposition of the old and new architecture in Baku and a greenhouse in Singapore.

A lonely small pink church in Qinhuangdao, China, by Rong Xu. Photo: Art of Building

The photograph that highlights the geometric ceiling of the UAE pavilion is titled White constellation. It was taken by Francesca Pompei.

“Designed by the Swiss-Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava for the UAE pavilion at the Dubai Expo, is representative of the UAE’s pioneering spirit,” the photograph’s description reads.

“At the centre of the structure there is a sphere-shaped void that serves as an auditorium with a capacity of 200. Its continuum form is a symbol of resilience and of a boundless future embracing a dialogue among different cultures.”

The free-to-enter competition opened in October and closed on November 27.

Entries were whittled down to a final dozen by judges who are now turning to the public to cast their vote and decide on the winner.

The public can vote for their favourite photo until January 15 and then the winning photo will be announced on January 26.

A second winner will be selected by the judges, and each will receive £1,500 ($1,823), along with the recognition of having the photo promoted across the globe. Winning images from the competition are often used in pop-up-style art galleries on construction site fencing, being seen by many people.

“The breadth of photography we have seen this year is amazing,” said Joanna Quirk, chief operating officer at CIOB.

“From those who are revealing a little-known building to those showcasing a familiar icon in a new light, the competition is more than just the pictures, it also sparks conversations about the way the built environment affects so many aspects of our lives. Now we encourage the public to join that dialogue by choosing their favourite. We wish all our finalists the best of luck.”

Last year’s Public Choice winning photo was taken by Rahaman Hossain and showed a woman collecting water from a pond in front of the spectacular World Heritage Site, Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi. The Judge's Choice winner was Mikhail Proskalov for his photograph of the Lakhta Centre in St Petersburg, captured using drone technology.

Votes can be cast at

Updated: December 16, 2022, 1:09 PM