Architecture

Greenery covered pavilion provides respite from sweltering Dubai heat

Greenery covered pavilion prov...
Vincent Callebaut and Assar Architects have completed the Belgian pavilion for Dubai 2020 Expo, named the Green Arch
Vincent Callebaut and Assar Architects have completed the Belgian pavilion for Dubai 2020 Expo, named the Green Arch
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Vincent Callebaut and Assar Architects have completed the Belgian pavilion for Dubai 2020 Expo, named the Green Arch
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Vincent Callebaut and Assar Architects have completed the Belgian pavilion for Dubai 2020 Expo, named the Green Arch
The Green Arch is finished in 5.5 km (3.4 miles) of wooden louvers to help shade it from the hot Dubai Sun
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The Green Arch is finished in 5.5 km (3.4 miles) of wooden louvers to help shade it from the hot Dubai Sun
The Green Arch includes a restaurant with Belgian staples like French fries, waffles, and chocolate
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The Green Arch includes a restaurant with Belgian staples like French fries, waffles, and chocolate
The Green Arch features some 3D-printed seating and planters outside
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The Green Arch features some 3D-printed seating and planters outside
The Green Arch's interior includes a large escalator meant to depict a journey into the future
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The Green Arch's interior includes a large escalator meant to depict a journey into the future
The Green Arch features multiple illustrations depicting a sustainable future for Belgium
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The Green Arch features multiple illustrations depicting a sustainable future for Belgium
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Expo 2020 Dubai has produced superb pavilions from firms like Foster + Partners and Carlo Ratti Associatti. Vincent Callebaut has now unveiled his own contribution and it's a timely opportunity to see some of the forward-thinking architect's ideas on sustainability realized. Named Green Arch, it has been created to promote a greener future and is designed to provide visitors with some respite from the punishing Dubai sun.

Green Arch was created in collaboration with Assar Architects and is the official Belgian entry for the expo. The pavilion's overall form has been specifically designed to create a spacious sheltered area for passersby to seek shade and it features over 2,500 plants, shrubs and trees on its exterior. The immediate area surrounding the pavilion also features a series of 3D-printed concrete additions, including seating and planters.

The Green Arch includes a restaurant with Belgian staples like French fries, waffles, and chocolate
The Green Arch includes a restaurant with Belgian staples like French fries, waffles, and chocolate

The interior measures 4,823 sq m (roughly 51,000 sq ft) and consists of a restaurant with popular Belgian foods like French fries, waffles, and chocolate, as well as exhibits depicting a sustainable Belgian landscape in 2050. Elsewhere, there's an escalator that's been decorated to resemble a "space-time tunnel," plus comic strips imagining a green future and discussing ways this vision could be realized. There's also an immersive video display and other related exhibit areas.

Structurally, the Green Arch has been largely constructed from CLT (cross-laminated timber), and is likened to a bridge by Callebaut. The wooden louvers on its exterior are used for shading, while solar panel arrays produce both electricity and hot water. The building has also been positioned to promote natural ventilation.

"Located in the 'Mobility District,' the architectural concept of the Belgian pavilion is to offer visitors the largest shaded and naturally ventilated agora in the axis of the prevailing west-east winds of Dubai," explains Callebaut. "Its programming is placed higher up so that a maximum of the ground floor space is free to use for the public.

This means that 'The Green Arch' is based on a 'bridge-building,' creating an immense vault with double curvature between its two pillars. This curvaceous vault is generated from a universal mathematical minimum surface called 'hyperbolic paraboloid'. This paraboloid is built in CLT with more than 5.5 linear km [3.4 miles] of spruce louvers generating a giant wooden Mashrabiya – which by rotating of 180 degrees – envelops the entire project to better protect it from solar radiation."

The Green Arch is finished in 5.5 km (3.4 miles) of wooden louvers to help shade it from the hot Dubai Sun
The Green Arch is finished in 5.5 km (3.4 miles) of wooden louvers to help shade it from the hot Dubai Sun

The Green Arch has been designed to be easily disassembled, too. The idea is that once the expo comes to a close in March 2022 it could potentially be dismantled and then eventually be re-built in Belgium – however, this is not yet certain.

Source: Vincent Callebaut Architectures

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