A celebration of German innovation is taking shape for Expo2020 Dubai - and it involves suspended cubes, a translucent roof and even a giant ball pit.
Construction will begin this month at the Dubai South expo site on a pavilion that will encourage people to interact, collaborate and ponder what cities of the future and how they can be made more sustainable.
Officials and architects involved in the planning and delivery of the ambitious project told The National that energy-saving measures were built into the design from a sheltered atrium to stacked cube structures that would create unique spaces for people to congregate.
Supported by steel cables, a visually striking, membrane-like translucent roof will be gently curved to create the effect of rolling clouds.
During the day, the sun’s rays will dart into interior spaces recreating a setting much like sunlight piercing through a canopy of trees.
At night, the same space will be transformed when a multitude of lights entwined into the ceiling exude a glow across the structure.
The roof’s opaque quality will let the sun’s “rays into the interior through many small openings, similar to sunlight penetrating forest foliage, creating a continuously changing visitor experience,” said Sebastian Rosito, director of the German pavilion.
“The cloudscape roof keeps out the heat and controls light and temperature in the atrium.”
The design reflects courtyards in local UAE homes as the interior areas will open up to each other.
This aim is to cool the space within to handle the desert heat during the six-month world fair to begin in October next year.
Mr Rosito described it as a campus of nature and technology that reflects the expo sustainability theme by adapting to the local climate.
The architecture aims to reduce energy consumption and optimize resources available.
A central atrium will open out to a green, open space that will connect all visitor areas. People will be able to walk out to terraces that overlook the atrium.
Located in the expo’s sustainability section, the pavilion will incorporate conservation techniques at multiple levels.
“The stacked building elements not only trap vertical airspace, but also minimise direct sunlight creating a sheltered atrium with minimal solar input and optimised climate,” Mr Rosito said.
Under the high ceilings that lend the structure a floating vibe, visitors can learn more about conservation in specially created structures or ‘laboratories’ as they understand how to be eco-friendly.
The campus theme will play throughout from enrolment to learning and on to graduation.
Visitors will be registered with a name badge. The induction lessons will cover information on how humans have impacted the planet in negative and positive ways and that people must work together for a sustainable future.
In a room called the Welcome Hall, a pit filled with 150,000 balls will sport the black, red and gold colours of the German flag. Each ball will tell a short story about a sustainability champion from Germany.
The curriculum will take people into three key areas with energy, future city and biodiversity laboratories that will cover supply solutions, urban areas of tomorrow and the vulnerability of nature.
To build on the learning goal, many exhibits will function only if several people worked together to operate them.
The grand finale in the graduation hall ends with “a show on swinging seats” where visitors once again must work in unison.
Organisers said more details would be released over the year.
“Visitors from all over the world will come to realise that there is much more that unites them than divides them,” said Dietmar Schmitz, commissioner general of the German pavilion.
“They will see that if they join forces – by swinging back and forth together, for example – they can achieve much more than they think.”
Playing on the expo theme, 'Connecting Minds, Creating the Future' large installations will exhibit solutions and add an element of entertainment to keep visitors engaged.
A new digital interactive technology specially developed for the pavilion will also be unveiled for the first time at the expo. As visitors walk through different spaces, an invisible assistance system will provide them with any information they need.
The ambition is to frame a customised experience with intelligent spaces that respond to individual visitors, Mr Schmitz said.
The pavilion will also reflect the country’s role, its contribution to the energy revolution and showcase how the German population is committed to conservation.
“Sustainability is the subject of analysis, research, practice and development in Germany which is what Campus Germany sets out to convey,” Mr Schmitz said.
“This campus metaphor presents the pavilion as a place of knowledge, research, dialogue and human interaction.”
Expo 2020 Dubai will be held from October 2020 until April 10 the following year, with 25 million visitors expected to flock to the emirate for a fair featuring 192 countries.