Dubai's Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion longlisted for the Dezeen architecture prize

One of the top attractions at the coming Expo 2020 Dubai, the pavilion's design and function were inspired by natural processes

Aerial general view of Terra – the Sustainability Pavilion
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Dubai’s Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion has been longlisted in two categories for the 2021 Dezeen Awards.

One of the top attractions at the coming Expo 2020 Dubai, the pavilion made the longlist for the coveted architecture prize in the Sustainable Building and Landscape Project categories.

Designed by Grimshaw Architects, the structure features a 130 metre-wide oval building at its centre, with circular sprout-like solar panels called Energy Trees huddled around it.

The site is fitted with 4,912 solar panels and 18 Energy Trees, generating 4GWh of electricity per year, or as the Expo 2020 Dubai website says, “enough to charge more than 900,000 mobile phones.”

The site also utilises innovative irrigation methods, including a greywater recycling system, aiming to reduce water use in the landscape by 75 per cent.

The structure’s design and function were inspired by natural processes, which was a deciding factor in nominating the site for the Sustainable Building award.

“The relationship of building to the site and its physical and cultural contexts is critical,” the Dezeen Award page explains. “The facility demonstrates a new way of living sustainably in a challenging desert environment.”

The building, which will function as a science centre after Expo 2020 ends, is also in the running for the Landscape Project prize.

Designed by landscape architects desert INK, the site features native and adapted plants with hard landscape materials that are either locally sourced or contain recycled content. An intelligent irrigation system has been installed to supply water only when needed.

A handful of other projects from the region have also been longlisted in the 12 categories of the 2021 Dezeen Awards. These include the Khor Kalba Turtle and Wildlife Sanctuary in Sharjah, which is nominated in the Cultural Building category.

Designed by Hopkins Architects, the site features a cluster of round buildings and is located in one of the most diverse nature reserves in the Gulf. It functions as a sanctuary for rehabilitating turtles and endangered birds.

Seven interconnected pods on the site make up a visitors' centre, which presents a panoramic view of the mangrove forest and distant mountains. The site also features a trail to encourage visitors to explore the reserve’s mangroves and mud flats, which are home to turtles, stingrays, gazelles and the rare Arabian collared kingfisher.

A multi-unit residential building in Kuwait is in the running for the Housing Project prize. Named Project Jade, the building takes the traditional courtyard house concept with mashrabiyas and applies them to an apartment building. Featuring living units designed around green courtyards, the building aims to achieve an optimised balance between privacy and openness.

Seven projects from Iran have also made the Dezeen Awards longlist in various categories. Igol House, a holiday destination in the Igol village for hikers, is nominated in he Rural House category. Inspired by the aesthetics of old Persian gardens, the house features terraces that appear as layered gardens.

The Alibaba Travel Agency headquarters, consisting of 10 industrial sheds, has been longlisted in the Business Building category. Tehran’s Silk Tree Park, designed with spatial guidelines for deaf and hard of hearing people, is longlisted for the Landscape Project category. The other longlisted projects from Iran are Sabzevar Arc House, the Aptus Showroom, the Sharif Office Building, and the Presence of Hormuz 2 buildings.

We’ll have to wait until September to find out which regional projects make the shortlist for the Dezeen Awards. The longlist will be assessed by a jury of leading professionals including Ole Scheeren, Lina Ghotmeh and Hanif Kara.

The 12 winners will then be announced in November. Winning projects will go on to compete for the overall architecture project of the year prize.

Updated: August 12, 2021, 6:03 AM