In pictures: UAE Pavilions in World Expos since 1970
In pictures: UAE Pavilions in World Expos since 1970

The UAE’s historical participation in the World Expos dates back to 1970, more than a century after the first Great Exhibition was inaugurated in London. And ever since, the Emirates has been regaling visitors from around the globe with its stunning award-winning pavilions. Designed to illuminate different aspects of the nation’s culture and progress, the representative pavilions showed off technological advancements, energy efficiency and environmental conservation. From World Expos to Specialised Expos (lasting three months as opposed to the former’s six), see how the host country of Expo 2020 Dubai warmly received the world at its dais in Japan, Germany, South Korea and more. Above: Gates or 'Entry Portals' to Expo 2020 DubaiImage Credit: Supplied2 of 10

abu dhabi osaka 1970 expo
OSAKA, JAPAN, IN 1970: A year before it was officially formed, the UAE entered a fair for the first time represented by the Abu Dhabi Pavilion. Modelled after an Arabian mud brick fort, the pavilion design featured a pair of square and cylindrical towers that took two years to complete. According to a report in Saudi Aramco World’s 1970 edition, Egyptian architect Abdul Rahman Hassanein Makhlouf oversaw the architecture, having been Abu Dhabi’s city planner. Under the theme, ‘Abu Dhabi, past, present and future’, the pavilion offered a comprehensive rundown of the activities and achievements of the emirate, even serving visitors a variety of Arabic coffee in Japan.Image Credit: Expo'70 Commemorative Park

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uae pavilion seville expo 1992
SEVILLE, SPAIN, IN 1992: This became the first Expo that the UAE participated in after its formal establishment in 1971.Image Credit: Twitter/@SevillaInsolita

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uae pavilion hannover expo 2000
HANNOVER, GERMANY, IN 2000: The UAE won the award for the best pavilion at this Expo from the 154 countries and 39 international organisations that participated. Opening the new millennium, the pavilion welcomed around five million visitors during the fair’s six-month period with a historical and cultural journey of how the people of the UAE lived. International visitors could get their hands painted in henna and tour the desert and fascinating falconry practices in a 360-degree cinema. The Ibn Majid Society sent a number of artisans to educate visitors on the making of traditional artefacts such as containers, fishing nets and tools used for diving. The award-winning pavilion, designed by French architect Alain Durand-Heriot, was constructed using recyclable materials, even having sand and palm trees shipped from the deserts of the UAE.Image Credit: BIE

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uae pavilion zaragoza expo 2008
ZARAGOZA, SPAIN, IN 2008: The UAE won the golden award for best design and content at the Specialised Expo in Zaragoza, where it was one of the first countries to announce its participation. Designed by Spanish architect Joan Sibina, the pavilion conveyed the role water has had in the history of the UAE, coinciding with the theme of the Expo ‘Water and Sustainable Development’. Its colourful reflective interiors, wall-length screens and cultural performances by the National Folklore troupe on the national day attracted millions of visitors.Image Credit: Joan Sibina & Partners

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uae pavilion shanghai expo 2010
SHANGHAI, CHINA, IN 2010: The UAE Pavilion in Shanghai was one of the largest structures at the Expo, built on an exhibition space of 3,000 square metres with a capacity for 450 visitors. British architectural firm Foster + Partners brought sand dunes, a significant feature of the terrains in the UAE, to China. The building’s reflective skin of gold-coloured stainless steel imitated the colour palette of the desert, the dunes of which crested at the height of 20 metres. The pavilion showcased the country’s new project, Masdar city in Abu Dhabi, a carbon neutral, zero waste community, and live experiences and performances gave visitors a taste of the Emirati culture. It went on to win awards that declared it the best pavilion, the most popular international pavilion and best midsize building by various judging bodies. The sand dune shells can now be seen in Abu Dhabi’s Manarat Al Saadiyat, to where the pavilion was dismantled and rebuilt.Image Credit: Shutterstock

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uae pavilion yeosu expo 2012
YEOSU, SOUTH KOREA, IN 2012: The walls of the UAE Pavilion were tinged with bluish hues as they portrayed the theme of ‘Living Ocean and Coast’ in this Specialised Expo. The UAE aimed to highlight its maritime involvement with fishing, trading and sailing and the importance of conserving the vitality of the ocean. Interactive displays presented short movies that touched on pertinent topics like coral reefs, dugongs, fisheries, mangroves and turtles. Short film ‘The Turtle’, which explored the issue of plastic pollution and marine life endangerment, was premiered at the pavilion.Image Credit: Vimeo/Dilussion

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MILAN, ITALY, IN 2015: The UAE’s participation in this Expo was marked by its winning bid to host the following exposition in Dubai. Expo 2020 organisers visited Milan to shadow their counterparts in Italy. Just as in the last World Expo, the UAE Pavilion was designed by Foster + Partners to evoke the visual scenery of the traditional, desert city. The 4,000-plus-square-metre site was constructed in a series of parallel waves, and the 12-metre high curvy walls were textured with patterns inspired by sand dunes. Walking through the narrow paths of the pavilion, visitors gained first-hand experience of the UAE’s traditional streets and courtyards. Inside the pavilion, digital reconstructions, interactive exhibits and an augmented reality device narrated the different areas of growth and development within the UAE. The pavilion won the best exterior design award.Image Credit: Agency

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uae pavilion astana expo 2017
ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN, IN 2017: At this Specialised Expo, visitors wandered around the UAE Pavilion to learn about the nation’s past, present and future of its sustainability sector in a 270-degree film. The Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park, the largest single-site solar project in the world, made its Expo debut here. Interactive platforms allowed visitors to understand the UAE’s key role in shaping the future for renewable energy. The tour of the pavilion took a total of 20 minutes to complete as visitors followed a virtual host. On Astana Expo grounds, the country pavilion was the largest, spanning an area of 980 square metres.Image Credit: WAM

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Expo 2020 UAE Pavilion
DUBAI, UAE, IN 2021: Global visitors will have the chance to immerse themselves in Emirati culture at the heart of the Expo 2020 Dubai site, where the UAE Pavilion will dominate in its home country as the largest pavilion on site. Designed by Spanish-Swiss architect Santiago Calatrava and his firm, the 15,000-square-metre, four-storey-tall building will resemble a massive falcon in flight, paying homage to the national symbol and centuries' long falconry tradition. When the latest edition of Expo 2020 goes live on October 1 this year, the UAE is celebrating its golden jubilee too. Come and witness the culmination of its eight-time participation in the fairs at The World's Greatest Show.

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