The pavilion is designed as a subtle intertwining of two different cultures – Slovenian and the host country. With its design starting points, which it draws from all the strongly recognizable elements of Slovenia, it nevertheless tries to respectfully capture the completely different spirit of the surroundings where it stands – desert, dunes, wind.

Studio Name: ARHIMETRICS architects
Partners in charge: Dare Vasiljevic and Tanja Span Vasiljevic
Design Team: Janez Vrhunc, Domen Puc, Masa Rozman, Goran Djokic
Area: 874 sqm
Year: 2019
Location: Dubai, UAE
Consultants: /
Photography Credits: ARHIMETRICS architects

Expo Dubai 2020 by Mylene Brousseau - Sheet1
©ARHIMETRICS architects

In this way, it is also meaningfully connected to one of the main themes of EXPO 2020 (Connecting Minds, Creating the Future), but at the same time, in the era of globalization, it not only silently follows the mainstream, but also unobtrusively expresses its local characteristics.

The fluid space of the pavilion without sharply marked boundaries is the result of the repetition of the torsionally twisted (and hollowed out) column as an archetypal spatial element. The random multiplication of the column with a triangular cross-section (outline of the highest mountain in Slovenia named Triglav!) is only apparent – in reality it is arranged in a grid of hexagons that illustrate the honeycomb in a beehive. A cluster of supporting elements creates the feeling of trees in a forest and introduces the unique character of the pavilion. The facade, like an open veil that flutters in the gust of desert wind, invites the visitor inside, which surprises with an unexpected experience – micro- ambients that at times remind one of a visit to a karst cave. The floor of the platform in front of the pavilion is a fusion of Gorenje carnation pattern and Arabic mosaic.


The volume design of the building is adapted to the requirements of the plot area: the pavilion measures 46x19m and is 14m high. It takes into account all given offsets, connector positions, and connects to the main communication routes. The entire pavilion consists of a series of columns with an open triangular cross-section, which torsionally twist and expand towards the top. In this way, the necessary space is created at the visitor level, and the columns meet towards the top, which enables the construction of an eventual roof and at the same time ensures static feasibility.

Expo Dubai 2020 by Mylene Brousseau - Sheet2
©ARHIMETRICS architects

The sub-theme of a sustainable approach, which also includes the Slovenian pavilion, pervades all its elements:

The building material is hemp concrete, which is a biocomposite, insulating and non-toxic sustainable material made from dried and chopped cores of industrial hemp stems and a mixture of slaked and hydraulic lime with water. The material is 100% organic, biodegradable, earthquake- proof, insect-resistant and waterproof. In the event of a fire, hemp concrete does not burn in flames but merely smolders, which prevents the fire from spreading. The lifetime of the material is longer than 100 years. In addition, as hemp grows, it stores CO2 from the atmosphere and releases O2, which means that 1 m3 of hemp concrete contains approximately 165 kg of carbon. The entire process of manufacturing composite material from hemp has a negative carbon footprint, even taking into account the energy required for growing the plant and processing, unlike classic building materials, which are more energy and environmentally intensive.

The basic element of the pavilion is a column that is twisted to the left or right, which simplifies construction. In addition, it is possible to assemble a single column from several prefabs, which enables prefabricated construction and easy transport.

The roof is planned over areas where the program absolutely requires it, and at least part of the pavilion is also naturally lit from the top – this creates a play of light and shadow inside, which changes during the day due to the changing angle of the sun’s rays, from subtle fragments of reflection to the imprint of shadows entire columns. The ventilation is provided by buoyancy – the air cools above the water surface, cools down and travels through the room and rises along the vertical elements. Since there is no need for active cooling with air conditioning units, energy consumption is much lower.

Due to the ease of installation and subsequent dismantling, as well as the use of sustainable building materials, the pavilion can be reused even after the EXPO exhibition is over. Flexible or and the fluid design of the rooms in the interior also enables a different use in the future.

Experiencing the space: The densification or percentage of the column adapts to the program design of the space and thus creates a dynamic and always different experience of the interior.

The design appeals to the visitor subtly, but clearly: the pavilion in all levels of design, both spatial and substantive, expresses a theme related to the elements of Slovenia.


Rethinking The Future (RTF) is a Global Platform for Architecture and Design. RTF through more than 100 countries around the world provides an interactive platform of highest standard acknowledging the projects among creative and influential industry professionals.