Belgian Pavilion Dubai

For the Dubai 2020 world Expo, Studio Farris Architects participated in the competition for the Belgian Pavilion. Our concept for the pavilion, and in this case its architecture, is based on three core ideas:

  1. Uniquely phenomenal – emphasizing the versatility, self-reflection, energy, humour and lightness that makes Belgium so uniquely phenomenal.
  2. Smart Belgium – Belgium embraces mobility and innovation.
  3. Ludic surreality – Magritte as a symbol, not only for the modern art and culture of Belgium, but also for the self-relativism and especially the life-loving attitude of the Belgians.

The proposal we have put together for the Belgian pavilion at the World Exhibition in Dubai 2020 translates all these aspects of diversity, dynamics and light, playful alienation into a fantastic spectacle. The purpose of the pavilion and the visitor experience is to offer a memorable experience. Something that the visitor will remember and want to share with others, not only with possible new visitors, but also via social media. We build our own ‘Smart City’, composed of connected volumes that together form a very unique ‘skyline’. The different volumes are very diverse in form and linked to the notion of diversity and solidarity of Belgium. The steel structure, mechanical fastening and standard dimensions of the construction ensure that the pavilion can easily be disassembled and re-built in another place or that parts of the structure can be reused afterwards to build a new construction. This fits completely into the general theme of the expo and the sub-theme of mobility.

Above the ‘cityscape’ there is a huge mirroring roof that offers an almost surreal experience to the passing visitors and gives a unique perspective on the image and dynamics of the pavilion. By means of our proposed architecture, we present a mirror to the visitor, as it were, that challenges visitors to reflect on their own biased image and perception of reality. What emerges is an image of movement and mobility, especially for the passing visitors, resulting in a very attractive pavilion.

competition finalist
client Belgian government
surface 4500 m²
function cultural
intervention new
location UAE
year 2020

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