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United Arab Emirates Pavilion
Client: The National Media Council, United Arab Emirates
Design: Foster + Partners
Fabrication: CanBuild Ltd.; Stahlbau Pichler srl; Tecton scrl
PHOTOs: Nigel Young; Foster + Partners
Expo 2015 Awards:
Best Exterior Design
Inspired by the way sand is carved by desert winds, the United Arab Emirates Pavilion was designed using a massive scan of sand dunes that transported the country's arid architecture to urban Milan. The structure's long, sinewy entrance, with 39-foot-high walls made of Fiberglas and reinforced concrete supported by a steel frame, has the take-your-breath-away quality of the opening to the lost city of Petra in Jordan.

Entering the shadowy passageway, visitors head along a ramp that gently slopes upward past interactive installations, introducing them to ways the UAE is tackling climate change and water scarcity. The path ends at an auditorium, contained within a golden drum whose 49-foot height makes it seem more a gift of the magi than a design of architects.

"Some exteriors impress; this one amazes," said one Expo 2015 Awards judge. "Whether it's the pavilion's façade enveloping visitors or the immersive presentations that put guests center stage, this pavilion, perhaps more than any other, manages to shut out all ambient cues and cocoon attendees in a beautifully elegant and experiential ambiance."

Heeding its own sustainability message, the UAE will dismantle its pavilion when Expo 2015 closes, and reassemble it in Masdar City, a solar-powered habitat in Abu Dhabi.


HONORABLE MENTIONS

China Pavilion
China Pavilion
Client: China Council for the Promotion of International Trade
Design: Studio Link-Arc LLC
Fabrication: China Arts Construction and Decoration Co. Ltd.; Unique Europe S.r.L; Bodino Engineering S.r.L.
PHOTOS: Sergio Grazia; Roland Halbe; Hufton+Crow; Hengzhong Lv
China dominated much of Expo 2015's horizon with a 49,000-square-foot pavilion that features an undulating roof merging the silhouette of Beijing's central business district with the profile of a mountain range. The roof, reminiscent of traditional Chinese pottery construction, was constructed using 1,052 panels in 300 variations fabricated from 53 miles of bamboo strips. Attendees enter the pavilion through an enormous garden, whose structure and statuary was inspired by Beijing's fabled Forbidden City, including thousands of marigolds and other flowers blooming in supernaturally neat rows.
Israel Pavilion
Israel Pavilion
Client: Israel
Design: Knafo Klimor Architects
Fabrication: Avant Video Systems
photos: Avant Video Systems
Israel's history of invention in agriculture includes the cherry tomato and a variety of strawberry that can grow year-round. The country's resourcefulness continued at Expo 2015 with a vertical garden that promised to turn farming not so much on its ear, but on its side. Built of 100-percent-recycled materials, the gigantic Green wall, measuring roughly 230-by-40 feet, was alive with neatly cropped rectangles of thriving wheat, rice, and corn. Besides offering an abundance of nourishment, the unusual, eye-catching wall buffers the building from the ambient noise of thousands of attendees, and scrubs the air of pollutants and greenhouse gasses. Fed by a drip-irrigation technology that consumes 98 percent less water than traditional farming, the pavilion's undeniable focal point suggested a way to stave off the drought and desertification that's destroying nearly 30 million acres of land every year.
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