The iconic, sand dune-themed UAE Pavilion, designed specifically for the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai by world-renowned architects Foster + Partners, has found a permanent new home: Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi.
The UAE Pavilion, which sat alongside other national pavilions on the banks of Shanghai’s Huangpu River since May 2010, is currently being relocated to Saadiyat Island’s Cultural District, where it will be reconstructed for future use - a fitting tribute to sustainability, the theme of last year’s Expo and the cornerstone objective in the UAE’s long-term tourism strategy.
One of the largest Expo structures ever built, the eye-catching pavilion, which showcased exhibitions highlighting UAE history during its time in China, will house new art related exhibitions - the contents of which are yet to be determined – when it reaches Manarat Al Saadiyat. It will open to the public before the end of the year and further strengthens Saadiyat Island’s existing and forthcoming cultural attractions.
The UAE Pavilion attracted almost 2 million visitors during World Expo 2010 and was bestowed with two major awards, first from the Illinois Society of Structural Engineers for the ‘Best Midsize Building 2010’ and secondly from the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations (NCSEA), which gave it second place in its international awards. The pavilion was also voted the most popular international pavilion in a survey carried out by Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Fudan University.
Foster + Partners’ design for the UAE pavilion – the British firm also designed the under-construction Zayed National Museum that will open in 2013 - draws inspiration from a sand dune, a symbolic feature of the desert landscape shared by each of the UAE federation’s seven emirates. The tallest dune towers to a height of 20 metres and the entire pavilion encloses 3,500 square metres of exhibition space, forming an attraction that will appeal to visitors from the local community, the region and the rest of the world.