Saturday, June 22, 2024

Delivering grand visions at Expo 2020

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Swiss firm Nussli is combining its years of experience and global network to breathe life into visions and designs at Expo 2020 Dubai

Harald Dosch cannot wait to unveil the work his company is delivering for Expo 2020 Dubai.

With more than two decades of experience in delivering Expo facilities, his employer Nussli, a leading Swiss firm for pavilion construction, event and special structures, is fully ensconced in this space.

“Nussli built its first world expo pavilion in Hanover 20 years ago,” says Dosch, who is chief operating officer for special projects and the main representative for the 10 projects his firm is working on at Expo 2020.

“Since then, more than 35 structures have been delivered in six subsequent specialised and universal world expos, including Aichi, Zaragoza, Shanghai, Yeosu, Milan and Astana.”

On the vast Expo site in Dubai, spanning nearly 600 football fields, Nussli has been represented by a special projects team since 2018. The group is experienced in construction engineering and project management under tight deadlines and high expectations, equipping them to handle the on-site situation early on.

“These preparations simplify planning for the project representatives,” says Dosch. “For instance, allowing them to optimise materials procurement, personnel deployment, and a constant exchange of ideas, topics and challenges within and between the teams.”

Dosch takes us through the 10 pavilions that Nussli is delivering at Expo 2020 Dubai, highlighting key features.


The Austrian pavilion combines Arab and Austrian best practices with innovative construction methods to deliver intelligent, resource-efficient architecture.

Based on the theme Austria makes sense, the pavilion is located on a 2,400 square-metre (sq m) site in the Opportunity District.

The pavilion consists of 38 interlocking flat-top cones made of concrete and plastered with clay, ranging from six to 15 metres.

The main exhibition area will be a semi-exterior space that will not require mechanical ventilation due to the arrangement of the cones. As a result, the Austrian pavilion will require 70 per cent less energy than a comparable conventionally air-conditioned building in Dubai.

Furthermore, extensive shading, increased air movement due to the geometry of the cones and white exterior plaster, which significantly reduces heat input, will create a pleasant indoor climate.

As the general contractor, Nussli is constructing the pavilion on behalf of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Digital & Economic Affairs and the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber. The design is by Austrian agency Querkraft Architekten.

Learn more about the Austria pavilion here
Baden-Württemberg House

The German state of Baden-Württemberg will present itself to the world as a hub for innovation, business, research and tourism for the first time in its own pavilion.

A visit to the Baden-Württemberg House is intended to be a relaxing and inspiring experience. Spread across 2,300 sq m, the structure showcases the art of engineering and sustainable construction.

The shape of the load-bearing structure, modelled on the Swabian half-timbered house, gives the pavilion a free-floating appearance. The hybrid timber building, with a façade made of wood from Baden-Württemberg, was planned parametrically. This allowed the architecture, building geometry and structural aspects to be designed and optimised in an integrally linked fashion.

The pavilion will be repurposed as a permanent place of learning after the Expo.

Nussli is in charge of planning and constructing the pavilion.

Learn more about the Baden-Württemberg House here

Named Forest of Future Technology, the Belarusian exhibition is inspired by the country’s lush forests and rich natural resources. It communicates the idea that nature and technology coexist, complement each other and create a sustainable and innovative future.

The three-story pavilion is located in the Opportunity District across a gross floor area of nearly 1,400 sq m.

The Belarusian pavilion brings the landlocked, Eastern European country’s primaeval forests to Dubai. At the entrance, green-lit, stylised trees lead visitors into the pavilion. Inspired by Belarus’s wealth of natural resources, the exhibition demonstrates how we can create new opportunities in the future through joint growth and efforts.  

Nussli is in charge of planning, constructing and dismantling the pavilion, on behalf of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Learn more about the Belarus pavilion here

The Light of China pavilion combines Chinese traditional culture with modern innovation. Designed to resemble a gigantic lantern with shimmering, playful lights, the pavilion highlights one of the most valuable traditions of Chinese culture.

Inside the building, the Exploration and Discovery, Innovation and Cooperation and Opportunity and Future areas take visitors on a journey through China’s diverse achievements in science, technology, information, education and transportation.

Innovations showcased include the 500-metre aperture spherical telescope FAST, China’s high-speed railways, 5G technology, artificial intelligence and the Belt and Road Initiative.

Nussli is executing the pavilion construction and installing essential technical equipment.

Learn more about the China pavilion here

The French pavilion’s motto, France, Lightspeed Inspiration, reflects the country’s aim to guide visitors, in record time, along a path highlighting unique and daring innovations and creations in the fields of science, research, technology, arts and crafts, and education.

Located in the Mobility District, the pavilion’s constructed area covers 5,100 sq m with another 1,200 sq m of gardens. 

The permanent exhibition will take the public on a stroll through the history of progress, a founding concept of the World Expo since the mid-19th century. This stroll is made up of three spaces, each offering a different approach and visions of progress.

Nussli was commissioned by the Immersive(s) Group Scenography Team to construct the exhibition.

Learn more about the France Pavilion here

Named Campus Germany, the pavilion features a vertical campus design comprising separate modules that converge at an atrium with a stage and restaurant.

Germany will present itself as a research laboratory where people can experience solutions for a sustainable future and exchange ideas. Visitors are invited to walk through the Anthropocene – the age of mankind – and three thematic labs, prompting them to discover their potential to influence global development positively.

Each visitor’s experience will be delivered by an intelligent assistance system called ‘IAMU’, which will act as an invisible companion to visitors, providing them with personalised information as they move through the pavilion.

Nussli, in consortium with German firm Facts and Fiction, is responsible for the concept, plan and implementation of the pavilion. Berlin firm Lava designed the architecture.

Learn more about the Germany pavilion here

With an eye-catching façade, the 3D geometric lattice of the Japan pavilion is inspired by the commonalities of traditional Japanese and Arabic design.

Located in the Opportunity District and covering approximately 5,200 sq m, the pavilion will present Japan’s vibrant art, culture, technology and traditional hospitality.

Cutting-edge technologies have been used to create an immersive audio and video experience in the pavilion. Visitors will be guided through an ethereal realm of floating mist as they discover the beauty of Japanese scenery, history and ideas, and ponder innovative ideas.

Nussli is executing the main exhibit works and the associated audio, video and lighting installations.

Learn more about the Japan pavilion here

The Central-Asian nation will present itself as a traditional country with modern ideas.

Named The Gateway to Tomorrow, the three-story pavilion boasts architecture that alludes to the light latticework of a yurt – the mobile home of the nomads. The inspiration for the facade came from the typical Ayir Kalpak headdress and the old architecture of Kazakh cities.

Through the use of augmented and virtual reality, guests will discover a variety of offerings from Kazakhstan, including its cultural and natural wealth.

Nussli is responsible for constructing the pavilion and implementing the exhibition, based on the scenography developed by German agency Insglück.

Learn more about the Kazakhstan pavilion here

The small country of Luxembourg is presenting itself as a smart nation. Constantly reinventing itself, the country understands how to connect human, natural, technical, industrial, and financial resources to create opportunities to face our future challenges. 

The pavilion’s outer shell will represent this core tenet. Designed in the shape of a Möbius strip, which connects the top with the bottom, and the inside with the outside, the facade symbolises openness, dynamism and reliability. 

The three-storey structure is located on a 3,650 sq m site in the Opportunity District and has a built-up area of 2,100 sq m.

Inside the pavilion, a spiral path takes visitors through the changing space, alternating between inside, outside, height, depth and different perspectives.

The intriguing interaction of architecture, exhibition, projections, and installations aims to showcase Resourceful Luxembourg in an immersive and educational manner that will appeal to all five senses.

Nussli is in charge of constructing the pavilion.

Learn more about the Luxembourg pavilion here

Inspired by a kaleidoscope, the theme Monaco 360° – a World of Opportunities will emphasise the lesser-known aspects of Monaco.  

The pavilion imbibes the fascia of a kaleidoscope in its very design, taking visitors on a multi-sensory journey through mirrored exhibition spaces and replicating the sights and smells of the French Riviera.

Located in the Opportunity District across 1,500 sq m, the pavilion makes a clear statement about sustainability and environmental protection. It will largely produce its own power using photovoltaic modules and recycle most of its pavilion materials.

Nussli is responsible for constructing the pavilion, based on a design by Monegasque firm AODA and the Swiss firm OOS Studio.

Learn more about the Monaco pavilion here

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