Brazilian Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai

Dubai / UAE / 2020

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The pavilion features the waters of Brazil - its rivers and mangroves, birthplace of the fertility of life, a natural inheritance that underlies all discourse about sustainability on the planet. With its tensile steel structure and lightweight white fabric, the pavilion is a fabric onto which videos are projected, creating an immersive atmosphere of variable images, sounds, aromas and temperatures, over an area of undulating, shallow water through which the pavilion’s visitors may walk. It is a place of interaction, of an arresting scenic character. It is a stage for the visualization of a nature and culture focused both on preservation and on a future made sustainable through technology. 


Architecture


As in times of flood, when a river overflows its banks, inundating what was once land, the project floods, with a thin layer of water, the whole land of Brazil in Dubai. A uniform, dark topography, made of black pigmented, sanded, non-slip concrete, derives its poetic motif from the Rio Negro in the Amazon basin. On this canvas are depicted meanders, beaches and backwaters, creating a grand plaza of water.  It is shielded by a tensile structure 48 meters wide and 18.5 meters tall; four vertical panels making up a covering, an impluvium, secured by cables anchored to the water mirror. During the day, this structure shades and protects the waters; at dusk it makes of the pavilion a luminous, floating cube. Immersed in projections, sounds, vapors and subtle aromas, this space forms the essence of the proposed museographic experience, whose theme is the fluvial waters of Brazil. 


Visitors wishing to enter the water without wetting their feet will be offered Goldon boots, made famous in Venice, worn there over shoes at times of acqua alta. Access to the pavilion and walks round it can be made in its dry areas, where facilities complementary to the exposition are also located, such as a café, restaurant and shop. These are contained in a separate, suspended, trellised volume that projects over the water plaza, in the manner of the houses on stilts, or palafitas, found in northern Brazil. On the air-conditioned first floor, accessed by stairs and a large capacity elevator, is a multi-purpose room for lectures, debates, movies and small-scale shows. The lighting is completely controlled; a high resolution screen is envisaged for presentations in ambient light. From the foyer, visitors have a privileged view of the water plaza below. This space may be used for complementary exhibitions, such as of delicate or valuable objects. This floor and the next also have spaces for private meetings with Brazilian government officials and for technical use. On the roof, out of sight, are the fire water reservoir, air conditioning machines and museographic devices, such as image and light projectors, speakers and sprinklers for aromas. 


The structure makes it clear that the ground floor is the primary area for visitors, and that access becomes more restricted the further we move away from it. Added to this is its structural clarity, making it quick to assemble and disassemble; indeed, it does not require the kind of large-scale transportation that the exhibition might suggest. As is often the case with Brazilian architecture, its structural logic arises as an inseparable part of its architectural logic and the logic of its use, in this case museographic. The pavilion makes use of materials from around the world but with the same concept that has always characterized our architectural style: contemporary hollow. Allied to the small amount of construction involved, this coherence entails considerable gains from the point of view of economy and sustainability. 


Finally, water being the central element of the proposal, with its associations with our long and profound relationship with our rivers, it becomes, here, a construction material: the support for the exhibition. 


Eschewing images that diminish the complex diversity of our natural resources or conceal an urgent critical consciousness about the future of the planet, we present the pavilion as a grand water plaza over which hangs a great solar cloud, embracing its visitors and encouraging them to participate actively in a Brazilian environmental experience. 


Structure


The structure was envisioned in steel, both in the roof of the pavilion and in the space beneath. 


The pavilion presents a tensile structure with large trusses on its four facades, from whose upper edges is stretched the fabric of the roof, tensioned so as to take the form of a concave impluvium of four faces that converge in a circular water spout positioned slightly off-centre. 


The fabric is reinforced with steel cables that form the ridges of the impluvium and which, passing through a traction ring (which forms the mouth of the water spout), are taken down and tied at a single point to the ground, inside the water mirror. The resulting geometry, as in any tensile structure consisting of elastic elements, is not entirely flat, with the ridges curving upwards from their centre (along the steel cables) with a curve of the order of 5 per cent along their length, while the fabric tensioned between the cables curves almost imperceptibly downwards. 


In the horizontal plane along the top of the trusses of the facade is envisioned a compression ring, formed by the beams of the facade and by two more beams inserted in the former, rotated and crossed over each other so as to form struts between the nodes of the facade trusses. This whole set of steel bars is detached from the cover, creating pleasing shadows  thrown onto the translucent fabric. 


The fabric is a Precontrant fabric by Serge Ferrari, which features a flexible structure of high tenacity PET micro-cables coated with several layers of polymers and finished with a dirt-resistant surface treatment, offering low solar factor translucence and avoiding excessive heat gains. 


The internal volume has trusses in both of its longitudinal facades, each supported by two pillars, resolving in a rational manner the large proposed cantilevers.


Brazilian Pavilion - Expo Dubai 2020


Alphabetical Order


Architecture Offices:
Ben-Avid + JPG.ARQ + MMBB Arquitetos


Architecture - Authors:
José Paulo Gouvêa
Marta Moreira
Martin Benavidez
Milton Braga


Architecture - Collaborators:
Ana Carolina Isaía
Emilia Darricades
Juan Pablo Parodi
Mateo Arjona
Raphael Carneiro
Seizen Uehara
Tomás Quaglia Martínez
Victor Oliveira


Exhibition:
Guilherme Wisnik
Alexandre Benoit


Engineering:
Miguel Maratá
Gabriela Trevizan



Project Fact Sheet


Location: Dubai
Use: Exhibition Pavilion
Site Area: 3772 m2
Bldg. Area : ㎡
Gross Floor Area: 3772 m2
Structure: Steel
Max. Height: 18,8 m
Exterior Finish:
Client : Apex-Brasil


 

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    The pavilion features the waters of Brazil - its rivers and mangroves, birthplace of the fertility of life, a natural inheritance that underlies all discourse about sustainability on the planet. With its tensile steel structure and lightweight white fabric, the pavilion is a fabric onto which videos are projected, creating an immersive atmosphere of variable images, sounds, aromas and temperatures, over an area of undulating, shallow water through which the pavilion’s visitors may walk....

    Project details
    • Year 2020
    • Work finished in 2020
    • Client Apex-Brasil
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Pavilions
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