Sustainable Development

Introducing Terra: The 135m pavilion that generates all its own water and energy

This is a reposting of an article originally published on the Dezeen website. If you wish to copy or redistribute this article please do so in accordance with these terms: https://www.dezeen.com/copyright-notice/
The roof of the Terra pavilion, which stands at one of the main entrances to the Dubai Expo.

The pavilion stands at one of the main entrances to the site and generates all its own water and energy. Image: Dezeen

Tom Ravenscroft
Editor, Dezeen
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Sustainable Development?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Sustainable Development is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Sustainable Development

  • The 'energy tree' at the Dubai Expo is made from 97% recycled steel that supports more than 1,055 solar panels.
  • The structure forms a key part of an overall strategy to create a building that is self-sufficient in both water and electricity.
  • The pavilion was built for Emirati real estate development company Emaar Properties and will contain exhibits focused on sustainability.

UK studio Grimshaw has designed a pavilion topped with a 135-metre-wide, solar-panel-covered canopy to anchor the sustainability district at the Dubai Expo.

Named Terra, the pavilion stands at one of the main entrances to the site and generates all its own water and energy.

The Sustainability Pavilion stands near one of the expo's entrances
The Sustainability Pavilion stands near one of the expo's entrances Image: Dezeen

Designed as the main permanent building within the sustainability district, the pavilion contains 6,000 square metres of exhibition spaces that are largely embedded in the ground.

These spaces are covered with earth roofs and shaded by a giant tree-like canopy made from 97 per cent recycled steel that supports more than 1,055 solar panels.

It is sheltered by a large tree-like structure
It is sheltered by a large tree-like structure Image: Dezeen

Informed by the drought-tolerant Ghaf Tree, this angled, oval-shaped canopy is supported on a central column.

The structure forms a key part of the studio's strategy to create a building that is self-sufficient in both water and electricity.

The structure also supports over 1,000 solar panels.
The structure also supports over 1,000 solar panels. Image: Dezeen
Have you read?

The solar panels on the main canopy, along with eighteen smaller, rotating Energy Trees that surround it, are expected to generate four gigawatt hours of electricity annually.

Grimshaw's Sustainability Pavilion was also designed to reuse 100 per cent of the water it uses.

The canopy provides shade for the buildings containing the exhibitions.
The canopy provides shade for the buildings containing the exhibitions. Image: Dezeen

The main canopy acts as a collection area for stormwater and dew, while further water is captured in smaller water trees surrounding the main structure.

Also surrounding the main building are a series of gardens planted to create a water-efficient landscape that is used to filter, supply and recycle water.

"Key to our design approach was developing a ranked matrix of project and place-based potential, leading the team to prioritise designs, which will have the greatest potential to yield positive transformational change for our client and the communities in which the project is situated," explained the studio.

"For this project, we can point to both the combination of passive design strategies, energy efficiency optimizations and on-site energy generation, as well as the on-site water reuse as the key prioritizations."

Gardens surrounding the pavilion contain Energy Trees.
Gardens surrounding the pavilion contain Energy Trees. Image: Dezeen

The pavilion is arranged around the column supporting the tree-like canopy. An open courtyard is wrapped around the column, with the exhibition spaces contained in a series of concrete structures embedded in the ground.

The external walls of the exhibition halls were constructed from gabion walls filled with stone from the Hajar Mountains.

Exhibits show natural environments and demonstrate the impact humans are having
Exhibits show natural environments and demonstrate the impact humans are having Image: Dezeen

The pavilion's immersive exhibitions were designed by New York-based designers Thinc in collaboration with the Eden Project.

Discover

What's the World Economic Forum doing about the transition to clean energy?

In the galleries, visitors will be taken on a journey into the world's forests and sea and be shown the impact humans are having on the world.

The pavilion was built for Emirati real estate development company Emaar Properties and will contain exhibits focused on sustainability throughout the six-month expo.

Following the event, the building will be converted into a permanent museum dedicated to science and sustainability.

The Dubai Expo is the latest World Expo – an international exhibition designed to showcase architecture and innovation.

The six-month event will see contributions from 180 countries, including pavilions from the UK and the Netherlands, as well as the Qatar Pavilion and the UAE Pavilion by Santiago Calatrava.

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Sustainable DevelopmentDavos Agenda
Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Al Gore: 3 ways to scale green investment in 2024

Andrea Willige

February 21, 2024

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum