One of the three subthemes of Expo 2020 Dubai (alongside Mobility and Sustainability), Opportunity examines how we can unlock the potential of individuals and communities, highlighting that each of us has a role to play in creating positive change.
Name: Mission Possible – The Opportunity Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai
Type: Culture | 15,000 sqm
Client: Expo 2020 Dubai
Photography: Jesús Granada
Mission Possible – The Opportunity Pavilion was designed by AGi architects for Expo 2020 Dubai. It encapsulates the concept of ‘Opportunity’: the idea that any action we take can create an impact; that anything is possible with a small step. The pavilion is a public space that allows every visitor from every corner of the planet and every walk of life to connect across age, language and culture, working together to achieve meaningful, positive change for our planet and its people.
The pavilion was conceived as a large plaza, providing continuity to the Opportunity District in which it is situated. The design builds on the rich urban history of the plaza throughout millennia, from Roman times to the modern day – the concept of a plaza is universal and lends itself to multiple cultures, whether it is a piazza, saha, common or the town square. This universal urban language is important, because the pavilion aims to be a platform for social and cross-cultural engagement.
Floating 32 metres above the ground, the pavilion’s canopy represents clouds and the dreams that we all aspire to achieve. The clouds are ethereal, composed of six textile layers of fabric on metal structures, protecting the plaza from direct sun exposure. The colourful elements overlap, creating layers, playing with transparency, light, shadows and colour. The clouds are in constant transformation thanks to the ways in which people view them in space and the changes in light and colour at various times of the day.
A terracotta ‘carpet’ covers the ground and the pavilion’s facades – the first time this type of ceramic material has been used in the UAE in this way. This creates a backdrop that neutralises the impact of the buildings, and places emphasis on the pavilion’s public spaces and how humans interact within it. It is in this carpet – the Earth – where the human activity takes place. The space is designed to be appropriated by the visitors, to share experiences and generate a community of knowledge and mutual respect.
To bridge the terrain’s slope, the pavilion’s plaza is organised on two levels, creating a basin where visitors are metaphorically spaced in-between the clouds above and the Earth below and providing a unique, playful place for social interaction and cultural understanding. The constant communication between AGi architects and Expo 2020 Dubai has made this project a reality.
Mission Possible – The Opportunity Pavilion is where Expo 2020 brings to life the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The United Nations is ideally located in Mission Possible – The Opportunity Pavilion, the Thematic Pavilion that examines how to unlock the potential of individuals and communities in creating positive change for people and planet.
The international design firm AGi architects was founded by two architects educated at Harvard University, Joaquín Pérez-Goicoechea and Nasser B. Abulhasan.
With a prominent international character and a multidisciplinary focus, AGi architects offers a professional service emphasizing quality, creativity and exclusive design. AGi has a vision to create environments that create a lasting value for clients through distinctive and imaginative solutions. At present, the studio has offices in Kuwait and Madrid, with a team comprised of more than 50 professionals.
The studio’s architecture is based on four founding pillars: innovation, an existential component, ecological and social interventions and research. AGi architects provides comprehensive services in architecture, interior design and urban planning.
AGi architects has been recognized with more than 40 international awards such as: Lafarge Holcim Awards, WAF Awards, Middle East Architect Awards, MIPIM Architectural Review, Identity Design Awards and Cityscape Awards, amongst other prizes.