UAE’s Iconic World Expo Pavillion to Relocate to Saadiyat Island

Abu Dhabi, 4 February, 2011 – Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), the master developer of tourism, cultural and residential destinations in Abu Dhabi, has today announced that it is to bring the award winning UAE Pavilion from the World Expo in Shanghai to Saadiyat Island following a successful six months at the event.

The UAE Pavilion, with its iconic dune shaped structure designed by Foster + Partners, who are also designing the Zayed National Museum on Saadiyat Island, has been on display at World Expo 2010 alongside the skyline of other national pavilions on the banks of Shanghai’s Huangpu River since May, showcasing exhibitions that highlight the history of the UAE. It is one of the largest structures built for the Expo and currently the only national pavilion from the event that is being relocated and reconstructed for future use.

The pavilion shell will now be gradually dismantled in Shanghai before being transported and re-built on a site close to Manarat al Saadiyat on Saadiyat Island where it will house new art related exhibitions, the contents of which are yet to be determined. It will open to the public in Abu Dhabi in 2011, adding to the existing and forthcoming cultural attractions on the island.

Commenting on the relocation, HE Mubarak Al Muhairi, Managing Director of TDIC, said, “With a host of cultural institutions opening on Saadiyat Island over the coming years, including Zayed National Museum, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and Louvre Abu Dhabi, the arrival of the UAE Pavilion exhibition space marks the next step in the island’s journey to become a hub for cultural, architecture and educational excellence. The UAE Pavilion has already won a number of awards and was voted the most popular pavilion at the World Expo, so we are very much looking forward to bringing this strikingly beautiful building to Abu Dhabi.”

Foster + Partners’ design for the UAE pavilion draws inspiration from a sand dune, a symbolic feature of the desert landscape shared by each of the seven emirates. The tallest dune towers to a height of 20 metres and the entire pavilion encloses 3,500 square metres of exhibition space, forming an attraction that will appeal to visitors from the local community, the region and the rest of the world.

Gerard Evenden, Senior Partner, Foster + Partners, commented, “It is very exciting for us to be working on another project in the UAE, in addition to the Zayed National Museum. Inspired by the way the cities of the UAE rise from the desert, the pavilion will emerge to form a natural counterpoint to Abu Dhabi’s urban landscape and a landmark for Saadiyat Island. The sand dune is a timeless symbol of the Emirates, yet the state-of-the-art technology that makes this form possible can be seen to represent the UAE’s more recent past and exciting future developments that lie ahead for the country. And as the only pavilion to be relocated currently from the Expo, it will also highlight the UAE’s progressive stance on sustainability,”

World Expo is a large public exhibition held annually in different cities around the world that enables nations to showcase the latest developments, technologies and attractions in their respective countries in national pavilions. The World Expo 2010, officially Expo 2010 Shanghai China, was held from May 1 to October 31, 2010. The theme of the exposition was "Better City – Better Life" and was the largest World's Fair site ever at 5.28 square km. By the end of the expo, a record 73 million people had visited, and 250 countries and international organizations had participated, with 79 countries building their own pavilion. 

The UAE Pavilion attracted almost 2 million visitors during World Expo 2010. During its time in Shanghai, the UAE Pavilion was bestowed with two major awards, first from the Illinois Society of Structural Engineers for the "Best Midsize Building 2010" and secondly from the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations (NCSEA), which gave it second place in its international awards. The pavilion was also voted the most popular international pavilion in a survey carried out by Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Fudan University.

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