A World-Class World’s Fair – The New York Times
“Architecture speaks volumes,” said Andrew Whalley, president of Grimshaw, who described his recent visit to the pavilion as something of an immersive theater. “When I was in the yard, in the shade, there was a good breeze and it was 20 degrees cooler than the rest of the fair. You watch the sunlight flickering between the PVs [photovoltaic panels], and you start to understand how we can really build more sustainably.
He noted that this type of constructed narrative could provide a valuable example as we approach a global tipping point: “The next decade is absolutely crucial for humanity. If we do it right, we can still have a healthy planet for our children and grandchildren. “
Likewise, almost every national pavilion, big or small, contains some lasting elements, often featuring high-tech and low-tech ideas you’ve never heard of or supercharged versions of the ones you have. The Czech pavilion extracts water vapor from the air; The Azerbaijani pavilion has an air-cushion roof to cool high temperatures; the giant cones of the Austrian pavilion are inspired by the Arab tradition of cooling wind towers. The Moroccan pavilion is constructed of adobe, a welcome alternative to carbon-intensive steel or concrete. The striking entrance to Singapore features 80,000 plants of 170 different species, many of which are arranged as hanging gardens.
And the entire fair – not just its pavilions – aims to be sustainable, relying primarily on solar farms and other renewable resources for energy, and recycling much of its water, which it comes from runoff or bathrooms. All the buildings the UAE has constructed are at least LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold rated, while during construction, the organizers made an effort to recycle construction waste where possible and, for example, example, to integrate the asphalt of the road with a mixture which includes recycled tires.
“Very little will be wasted and everything is built with a look to the future,” Al Khatib said. “It is the most enduring exhibition in the history of exhibitions. “
Perhaps more sustainable than any strategy, most of the fair (unlike virtually all of the World’s Fair of the past) will be recycled, becoming a new district strategically located between the city’s airports and transit hubs and easily accessible by Metro. (Unlike buildings in the UAE, most national flags will be destroyed.)
Mr. Al Khatib said: “Most exhibits leave behind a building or an area. For us, we are actually leaving a city. Our buildings must be converted into commercial spaces, residences, hospitals, clinics and schools.