The Dubai 2020 World Expo

The Sustainability Pavilion this year at Expo 2020

The Sustainability Pavilion this year at Expo 2020

Since the first World Expo in 1851 which celebrated the Crystal Palace in London, the event has rapidly accrued worldwide significance. Its successors — including the Brussels Expo (1958), which showed off the Atomium, and the Expo Milano (2015), featuring  the gorgeous and massive Tree of Life — have been reputed for their influence on cultural heritage, and wide-reaching influence.

And finally, a long way from the telegraph, humans have come to the Sustainability Pavilion this year, at Expo 2020 Dubai. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, last year’s Expo was moved to this year — the first time an Expo was postponed and not cancelled. 


What’s So Special About a World Expo? 

The World Expo is one of the oldest and biggest events on the planet. Every five years, a city takes its turn to host the occasion, which lasts six months, inviting countries around the world to showcase their diverse cultural backgrounds. 

Each Expo also has a theme, with this year’s being “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.” Historically, these  themes highlight scientific, technological, economic and social progress. They act as a springboard for an Expo’s unique intellectual and cultural events. Some of the more significant showcases include: the 1889 Paris Expo, which inaugurated the Eiffel Tower; the 1939 New York Expo, introducing television to the world; and the 1970 Osaka Expo, which played the first IMAX films. 


What About Expo 2020? 

This year, Dubai will be hosting Expo 2020, lasting from October 1st, 2021 to March 31, 2022 (which means it’s already begun). During this period, the event is expected to host 192 countries. And for the first time in Expo history, each country will operate its own pavilion. 

In light of these new changes, the venue will be divided into her three main districts: the Sustainability District, Mobility District and Opportunity District. Different countries will be at different districts, like the Germany pavilion located in the Sustainability District showing off the nation’s cutting edge technology, the Australia Pavilion located in the Mobility district with its 60,000 years of Australian Astronomy, and the Switzerland Pavilion in the Opportunity district — where you can hike through a sea of fog.


Switzerland Pavilion in the Opportunity District, where visitors can walk
through fog

Show-Stoppers: Everything New, Old, and In-Between

You can’t have this year’s Expo without the Sustainability Pavilion. It’s one of three theme pavilions and was designed by Grimshaw Architects as a net-zero energy building. Nearly 5,000 solar panels cover the pavilion roof and solar “trees,” which rotate with the arc of the sun. Another “tree” harvests water by condensing air humidity, an irrigation system waters the gardens, and all remaining wastewater is recycled. 

Spain’s solar chimneys are another attraction at the Expo this year. Solar chimneys use the heat of the sun on the side of a structure to draw hot air out of the top of a building, while allowing cool air in at the bottom. The ‘plan’ is to reduce energy consumption without the need for extensive technology. You can definitely see how the theme for this year, “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,” makes sense here, showcasing how far we’ve come in terms of efficient energy for the future! 

Saudi Arabia’s Pavilion, which achieved three World Records

Lastly, Saudi Arabia has knocked it out of the park with its pavilion. Five-stories high and spread over more than 13,000 square meters, it’s

the second largest pavilion on site, after the UAE’s (United Arab Emirates). Located in the Opportunity district, the pavilion has also achieved three Guinness World Records: the biggest interactive lighting floor, the largest LED mirror screen display, and the longest interactive water feature.


Highlights: Launching Expo 2020! 

This year’s event kicked off with a spectacular opening ceremony, featuring performances by opera star Andrea Bocelli, singers Andra Day and Ellie Goulding, and pianist Lang Lang, among many others. The daily media reported that 53,000 people of different nationalities and ages attended the opening of the first World Expo set in the Middle East.


Similar to previous World Expos, the event will be a meeting of rich intellectual and cultural notions. For 170 years, World Expos have provided a platform to showcase the greatest innovations that have shaped the world we live in today”, officials at the World Expo write. They added, “Expo 2020 will continue that tradition with the latest technology from around the globe.” Expo 2020 Dubai will be the first ever held in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa region, with many reasons to be counted as one of the most historical World Expositions. Make sure to tune in, following the event over the next few months!