A gift from UK to the world at Expo 2020 Dubai

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(Above) The poetry on the façade of the UK Pavilion on the site at Expo 2020 Dubai. (Below) A view of the interior.

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Atelier Ten is proud to have provided sustainability and engineering services for the UK Pavilion, launched on 1 Oct at Expo 2020 Dubai. 

Shaped like a giant wooden conical musical instrument, the UK Pavilion has been dubbed the “Poem Pavilion” as it compiles words contributed by each visitor and uses an advanced machine learning algorithm to generate the cumulative collective poem illuminating its 20-meter diameter facade.

How the Poem Pavilion works
It is the first time a UK pavilion has been designed by a woman since the inception of Expo in 1851. Es Devlin, the artist, envisioned the UK Pavilion as a cultural gathering place for ideas and language from across the globe. Visitors are asked to contribute a word at the “mouthpiece” of the pavilion, before they walk into the heart of the instrument where they will be surrounded by words contributed by other visitors, glimmering in illuminated Arabic and English. As visitors emerge through the facade of the pavilion, they will pass through the 20-m diameter composition of collective text where a new poem is generated every minute.

Sustainability strategies
Atelier Ten focused on ensuring a comfortable experience for visitors while minimizing the use of natural resources and their impact on the environment. As World Expos are not permanent, it was essential for Atelier Ten to provide solutions to reduce the embodied carbon and long-term impact of a project with a relatively short existence. Atelier Ten’s key sustainability strategies were:

  • Demountable cross-laminated timber (CLT) structure: Sourced from sustainably managed European forests as a sustainable alternative to concrete and steel. The structure is demountable, allowing for easy reuse at the end of the pavilion’s lifespan.
  • Thermal labyrinth using easily recyclable sprinkler tanks: The team designed a labyrinth into the base of the pavilion to precondition the outside air. The night air in Dubai tends to be considerably cooler than the peak of the day; this cool night air can remove heat gains built up in the thermal mass of the labyrinth and pre-cool, ready for the following day. The labyrinth was constructed out of recyclable sprinkler tanks and plastic water tanks, allowing it to be taken apart and its components reused when the Expo is over.
  • Displacement ventilation to cool only the occupied levels: Only the lower occupied levels of the pavilion need to be cooled; reducing the amount of energy used to cool the installation. 

To experience the Poem Pavilion, watch the video here

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