Named Alif-The Mobility Pavilion, the pavilion, located at a dedicated plaza at the south entrance of the Expo site, symbolizes “the beginning of progress and new horizons” in which the pavilion was named Alif after the first letter of the Arabic alphabet.
Alif-The Mobility Pavilion is drawn on a tri-foil plan and divided into three key zones, each forming a petal, dedicated to three exhibition areas.
The exterior of the pavilion is made of stainless-steel façade fins that each of them steps back towards the ground, reflecting the heat and providing shade for the glazing.
“This is the third World Expo that we have been involved in, the two previous were in Shanghai and Milan. These events are incredible opportunities to showcase innovation from around the world,” said Gerard Evenden, Head of Studio at Foster + Partners.
“Similarly, Alif – The Mobility Pavilion conveys new ideas of mobility in a simple, yet thought-provoking and engaging manner, as we look towards the future of Dubai and the UAE in its aspirations, its technology and its investment.”
Situated on a site that has a lively, dynamic landscape, this Expo site has undulating tracks and demonstration areas for the latest technological innovations related to mobility.
The surrounding landscaped areas complement the internal functions of the pavilion, proposing three main zones and offering a variety of spaces for visitors to relax and enjoy the spectacle.
“A partly underground, partly open-air 330-metre track will allow visitors to see cutting-edge mobility devices in action, as well as witness mass produced technology that has the opportunity to vastly improve the quality of life for people in developing countries (e.g. solar-powered tricycles in Africa),” said Foster + Partners.
A special part, called The Stage, is designed with a raised platform and dedicated for large-scale presentations and performances, which is optimally located for a changing schedule of complementary events with a sheltered viewing area for the underground portions of the high-speed track.
Another part, called The Bowl, houses a large amphitheatre that can accommodate up to 500 people conveniently located at the pavilion’s exit, making it an ideal spot for visitors to rest and contemplate their journey.
Upon visitors entering directly into the central core, they are welcomed with the world’s largest passenger lift, capable of holding more than 160 persons, (38 for social distancing restrictions).
“This moving platform takes everyone up to the third level where they can then move down through successive interconnected galleries to the lower ground floor, viewing innovative, immersive and interactive visitor experiences focussed on mobility,” added Foster + Partners.
“The design of the building and the exhibition have evolved together right from the outset in close collaboration with the Expo team. The tri-foil plan of the building has developed around the creation of three volumes which will house a dedicated space for each of these sections,” added Evenden.
“The exterior landscape of the building forms a platform for interactive shows and experiments that explore the notion of Mobility,” added Evenden.”
As the studio highlights, sustainability was at the core of the design and the building is designed to achieve a LEED Gold rating.
A lot of features of the pavilion represent “the dynamic nature of mobility” attributed to the man theme of Expo which is “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”.
These fins form a canopy for each of the three entrances, while the roof hosts an array of both photovoltaic and solar hot water panels. After Expo 2020, the Mobility Pavilion will continue in legacy, becoming an integral element of District 2020.
Expo 2020 Dubai opened on 1 October, 2021 under strict pandemic conditions and will be running until 31 March 2022 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates under the theme of “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”, with three sub-themes Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability.
You can see WAC’s comprehensive coverage about other pavilions on WAC’s United Arab Emirates Country Page.