H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, laid the foundations for the UAE Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai today (Sunday, December 17, 2017).
The ceremony, also included the signing of the official agreement for the UAE's participation in the Expo, which was signed by His Excellency Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of State and Chairman of the National Media Council (NMC) – the entity tasked with overseeing the construction and management of the UAE Pavilion at international Expos – and Her Excellency Reem Ibrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of the Expo 2020 Office.
H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, said: "The UAE Pavilion will undoubtedly be one of the most prominent attractions of Expo 2020, drawing in many millions to witness its futuristic design. It will be a wonderful opportunity to share our Emirati culture and achievements while showcasing our ambitious vision for the future. The Pavilion will be an architectural marvel that all seven Emirates can rightly take pride in, both now at the ground-breaking stage, during Expo, and in legacy when it will become a lasting icon of our nation."
For his part, H.E. Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said: "I extend my sincere gratitude and appreciation to H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE; H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai; and H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces; for their valuable involvement and unlimited support for the efforts to make Expo 2020 Dubai the best edition of the global event to date."
"The UAE Pavilion is a prominent landmark at the Expo 2020 Dubai; it represents the host country and will be the main attraction for millions of visitors from all around the world," H.E. Al Jaber added. "The Pavilion showcases the history of the UAE, which stretches over thousands of years, and tells the story of our wise leaders, their vision and their achievements that have transformed the UAE into an international role model. At the same time, the structure will introduce visitors to the UAE's ambitious aspirations for the future, all the way till 2071."
"The UAE Pavilion will be the long-lasting legacy of Expo 2020 Dubai, bearing witness to the UAE's success in organising not only the first Expo in the Middle East and Africa, but also one of the world's best expos to date. This adds another achievement to the UAE's ever-growing track record of successes," Al Jaber concluded.
Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, said" The UAE National Pavilion at Expo 2020 will tell the story of our country to millions of visitors from all over the globe. It will be a window for communication and collaboration with the world, truly embodying our theme of 'Connecting minds, Creating the future'".
"The pavilion will leave a lasting impression on the UAE landscape, showcasing our rich culture, our journey as a nation and our development and leadership in many fields. It will introduce millions of people to our history, as well as the future aspirations that we seek to achieve with our leadership's vision and through cooperation with other nations", Al Hashimy added.
The UAE Pavilion is designed in the shape of a flying falcon, symbolising the country's leadership and pride. The design's components reflect the values of openness, communication and tolerance, aligning with the main theme of the exhibition, which calls for cooperation with the international community to improve quality of life through sustainable development.
The Pavilion covers an area of more than 15,000 square meters; it is made up of four floors with the top storey dedicated for hospitality with an area of 1,717 square meters. Meanwhile, a 588-square-metre mezzanine floor will house support units, and the two remaining floors consist of more than 12,000 square metres of exhibition space. The entire structure is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
The NMC approved the design submitted by architect Santiago Calatrava after a seven-month design competition, where nine international architecture firms submitted 11 different concepts. Entries were evaluated based on strict criteria, including the extent to which they successfully embodied the main theme of the Expo ("Connecting Minds, Creating the Future"), as well as their representation of UAE heritage, balancing the country's past and future.
Arabtec Construction (a subsidiary of Arabtec Holding) is building the Pavilion; the company won the contract after competing against national and international companies. Arabtec Construction is a leader in the national and regional construction sectors, delivering mega-projects such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the expansion of Abu Dhabi International Airport, and other landmark construction projects across the UAE.
The National Media Council has been in charge of building and running the UAE Pavilions in all international Expos since its inception in 2006, as part of its mandate to represent the UAE abroad and advance its position in regional and international forums, shedding light on its efforts, achievements and innovations in social and economic sectors around the world.