With the foundations for the much-anticipated event of the Expo 2020, Dubai laid in 2017, the Chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee, and the President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, H. H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum marked an important milestone in the history of the country to host of the most renowned events of the world.

Main pavilions for Dubai Expo revealed ahead of rescheduled event - Sheet1

Main pavilions at Dubai Expo ©www.eventnewsdxb.com

Ahmed said, “The UAE Pavilion will undoubtedly be one of the most prominent attractions of Expo 2020, drawing in many millions to witness its futuristic design. It will be a wonderful opportunity to share our Emirati culture and achievements while showcasing our ambitious vision for the future. The Pavilion will be an architectural marvel that all seven Emirates can rightly take pride in, both now at the ground-breaking stage, during Expo, and in legacy when it will become a lasting icon of our nation.”

What the world did not anticipate was the COVID-19 Pandemic, which postponed all such activity.

However, the organizers of the Dubai Expo 2020 have unveiled images and renders of buildings by Adam Smith, Gordan Gill, Grimshaw, and Foster + Partners. This brings us exciting news – these renowned personalities in the field of architecture will be hosting the COVID 19 delayed-event next year. An event that was originally scheduled to begin later this month, will now open a year from now, on October 1st, 2021. With each architect incorporating his unique sense of style, all the buildings share an aesthetic that promises to encapsulate futuristic silhouettes with innovatively designed spaces, collectively occupying over 1000 acres of outdoor space!

From what we know from the organizers, over 210 million work hours have already been spent on the project – most of which has been utilized on constructing the host of the buildings and the extensive landscaping that will be carrying the pavilions.

Sustainability Pavilion

Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill

Main pavilions for Dubai Expo revealed ahead of rescheduled event - Sheet2
Main pavilions at Dubai Expo ©www.eventnewsdxb.com

At the center of the whole of this site, which has been master-planned by the American Architecture firm, HOK, stands the Sustainability Pavilion, the Al Wasl Plaza, designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill. It is a spherical building, which lies at the intersection of the three thematic zones of the site. From the pictures, we can see that it would be covered by steel trellis forming a pattern that is highly responsive to the expo’s logo itself.

National Pavilion

Santiago Calatrava

Main pavilions for Dubai Expo revealed ahead of rescheduled event - Sheet3
Main pavilions at Dubai Expo ©www.eventnewsdxb.com

Next to the Plaza, in the United Arab Emirates’ National Pavilion, was designed by the starchitect, Santiago Calatrava. The idea of the pavilion is based on “a falcon in flight”, and is designed to house exhibition spaces, cafeterias, an auditorium, and multiple lounges.

Sustainability Pavilion


Main pavilions for Dubai Expo revealed ahead of rescheduled event - Sheet4
Main pavilions at Dubai Expo ©www.eventnewsdxb.com

Then come three leaf-shaped thematic zones extending out from the central plaza, each containing a thematic pavilion. The Sustainability Pavilion, designed by the UK architecture studio, Grimshaw aims to “deliver an aspirational message about the national world, ecology, and technology to a global audience.”

Main pavilions for Dubai Expo revealed ahead of rescheduled event - Sheet5
Main pavilions at Dubai Expo ©www.eventnewsdxb.com

The large overhanging roof of the structure has been designed to provide shade for the gardens and the exhibition spaces surrounding the pavilion, and also functions as a facilitator for energy derived from solar panels. The openings and ventilation system specially designed following its form will inhale fresh air from the humid area of the external environment. There are several “solar trees” around the gardens. These are also meant to provide energy using direct sunlight through the solar power system.  

The Sustainability Pavilion has been planned to function as a science museum following the expo of next year.

Mobility Pavilion

Foster + Partners

Main pavilions for Dubai Expo revealed ahead of rescheduled event - Sheet6
Main pavilions at Dubai Expo ©www.eventnewsdxb.com

Near the site’s south entrance, stands the almost complete Mobility Pavilion, by Foster + Partners. This trefoil-shaped structure, designed as a “fairground” for showcasing technological innovations and technologies related to mobility, will also include a partially open 340-meter track for the audience to experience the vehicles in full action.


AGi Architects

The third thematic district will house a pavilion focusing on the concept of Opportunity, designed by AGi Architects. Unfortunately, more news regarding the structure has not been released as yet.

Multiple Pavilions

Hopkin Architects 

Main pavilions for Dubai Expo revealed ahead of rescheduled event - Sheet7
Main pavilions at Dubai Expo ©www.eventnewsdxb.com

There are also over 86 permanent buildings by the UK studio, Hopkin Architects to be a part of the expo. Their design involves three central pedestrian walkways, which run from the central plaza to each of the three thematic districts, and will be decorated and shaded by numeral structures that represent trees.

Furthermore, the expo will also feature 192 national pavilions, which include structures by Es Devlin for the UK, as well as a stained glass-style pavilion with solar panels for the Dutch Pavilion. Each of the three entrances is designed by the British architect, Asif Khan who is working on a 21-meter-high gate marking the entrance for the expo.

The Expo 2020 Dubai is scheduled to run from October 1st, 2020 until March 31st, 2022. More details regarding the pavilion are expected to be released soon. Stay tuned!


An Architect by profession, a writer, artist, and baker by interest, Amna Pervaiz sees Architecture and Urban Planning as a multifaceted avenue allowing her to explore a plethora of disciplinary elements. She sees the field as an untapped canvas; a journey she hopes would one day lead her towards social responsibility and welfare.

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