Alif the Mobility Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020 by Foster + Partners

Published Categorized as Architecture, Blog, Exhibitions

Alif, the mobility pavilion, was designed by Foster + Partners. It is the one that best exemplifies the motto “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”.

Dubai Expo 2020: Alif the Mobility Pavilion

The Universal Expositions (Expos) are a global opportunity for innovation. They are held every 5 years with occasional special expos happening in between. The expos aim to transform people by inspiring them and introducing them to novel ideas. One enters into the site, sees and experiences the pavilions and exhibitions and comes out as a new person.

The Dubai Expo 2020 opened on October 1st 2021 and lasted for 6 months until the end of March 2022. It was the largest universal exhibition to date. More than 20 million people have visited it from all over the world, which is even more remarkable considering that it was held during a global pandemic.Ifo It showcased  architecture, global culture and innovation and included over 200 participants: nations, multilateral organizations, corporations and educational institutions. The theme of the Expo was “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,” underscoring how the modern world is interconnected and the need to generate sustainable solutions to global problems.

Alif the mobility pavilion

The mobility pavilion, called the Alif, was designed by the British firm Foster + Partners. It is the one that best exemplifies the motto “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”. Alef is its name, which is also the first letter of the Arabic alphabet. The project is one of the highlights of the Expo as it symbolizes the origin point.

The building has three wings with a base that is smaller than the top. The ground floor has a wide-open outdoor amphitheater called the Bowl where up to 500 guests can sit comfortably. The façade is covered with stainless steel cladding.

Foster + Partners

Gerard Evenden, Head of Studio at Foster + Partners, said:

“The design of the building and the exhibition have evolved together right from the outset in close collaboration with the Expo team. The tri-foil plan of the building has developed around the creation of three volumes which will house a dedicated space for each of these sections. The exterior landscape of the building forms a platform for interactive shows and experiments that explore the notion of Mobility,”

The inside of the pavilion has the largest passenger elevator in the world, taking up to 160 visitors to the top floor from where their journey begins. They walk down the ramp that goes through the exhibit. It bridges the past, present and future. People walk on a large path from the top to bottom, passing by some of the major figures (literally) and discoveries by humans. The ramp is surrounded by the world’s largest wall sculpture, featuring the evolution of mobility from the origins of humanity to the space exploration of today.

The pavilion speaks about mobility as the passion for adventures and discoveries: from the age of traveling by ships through the oceans to find new lands and cultures, to the discoveries and colonization of new planets. It also looks into life in cities as seen and desired by children. It is scaleless, abstract, light, futuristic, and unique. It tells the story of human development. It offers glimpses into the future from the eyes of children. It’s interactive. It is impressive.

Dubai Expo 2020 has set the bar really high for future Expos. It has been one of the largest, most visited and well executed events. Dubai has a lot to be proud of and so do the differentparticipating nations as well. We look forward and hope that the lessons learned from the Expo will make a difference in creating a better world.

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