Terra: A Sustainable Pavilion Revealed by Grimshaw at Dubai Expo That Generates Its Own Water and Energy

Terra: A Sustainable Pavilion Revealed by Grimshaw at Dubai Expo

UK-based architecture and design firm Grimshaw has unveiled a sustainable pavilion called "Terra" at the Dubai Expo featuring a giant 135-meter-wide solar panel-covered canopy that generates its own energy and water. Located at the main entrances to the site, the pavilion covers more than 6,000 square metres of exhibition areas that are mostly embedded in the ground. The immersive exhibition spaces are designed by New-York based studio Thinc in association with the Eden Project. The central permanent building is enclosed by 19 'energy trees ranging from 15-18 m in diameter that produce 28 percent of the energy need to power the pavilion. Read more about this amazing project below at SURFACES REPORTER (SR): 

Also Read: This Cross-Laminated Timber Pavilion by British Designer Presents Visitors Words in Poetic Form at Dubai Expo 2020

3-grimshaw-sustainability-pavilion-dubai-expo-surfaces-reporterThe architect's vision for designing this pavilion was to showcase an innovative way of living sustainably in the harsh desert. Emirati real estate development company Emaar Properties commissioned the design work to the firm.

After the expo, the building will be transformed into a science museum to intensify its objective of exploration and education for sustainable practices.

Source of Inspiration

The architect drew inspiration from dragon's blood- a tree that only grows on Socotra- an island locates about 321 km away from the Yemen coast.  

3-grimshaw-sustainability-pavilion-dubai-expo-surfaces-reporterNet-Zero Design

The firm incorporated several plans to make the project net-zero for water and energy. one of the plans is to keep the project underground so that it is covered by earth roofs and sheltered by a massive tree-like canopy to protect the pavilion from Dubai's scorching heat.


It will offer shade and light to the visitors below as well. The firm's concept was to design a building that is self-reliant in both electricity and water. 

Design Details

The primary angled, oval-shaped canopy is made from 97 percent recycled steel that supports more than 1,055 photovoltaic panels. It is supported on a central column which is surrounded by an open courtyard that provides passively cooled space for visitors.

3-grimshaw-sustainability-pavilion-dubai-expo-surfaces-reporterThe gardens and planted roofs utilize flora and fauna sourced from the surrounding deserts, which are arranged to create a water-efficient landscape that functions through a series of closed-loop systems designed to filter, supply, and recycle water. 

Also Read: India Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai Designed by C P Kukreja Architects commemorates 75 Glorious Years Of Indias Independence

The bottom surfaces of the structures are wrapped with a gabion rain screen wall, which is constructed with local stone obtained from the Hajar mountains. Gabion wall provides enough strength to the structure and allows thermal mass to absorb the heat.

3-grimshaw-sustainability-pavilion-dubai-expo-surfaces-reporter"Key to our design approach was developing a ranked matrix of project and place-based potential, leading the team to prioritise designs, which will have the greatest potential to yield positive transformational change for our client and the communities in which the project is situated," explained the studio.

Sustainable Features

The tree canopy allows air ventilation, keeping the area underneath cool and airy. It works with the courtyard for the proper airflow while at the same time the low-lying hot air vent out through the central void that works like a chimney.

3-grimshaw-sustainability-pavilion-dubai-expo-surfaces-reporterFurther, it also helps in harvesting stormwater and dew that recharges the building’s water system. According to the architect, the structure reuses 100% water it uses. 

"For this project, we can point to both the combination of passive design strategies, energy efficiency optimizations and on-site energy generation, as well as the on-site water reuse as the key prioritizations," quoted the firm

3-grimshaw-sustainability-pavilion-dubai-expo-surfaces-reporterAlso, the main building is enveloped with a series of green gardens to create a water-efficient site that is used in water filtration, supply and reprocessing. 

Project Details

Project Name: Terra -The Sustainability Pavilion
Architecture Firm: Grimshaw
Exhibition Design: Thinc
Event: Expo 2020 Dubai
Event Dates: October 1, 2021 – March 31, 2022
Photo Courtesy: Phil Handforth, Tom Hennes
Source: https://grimshaw.global/

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