Alif | The Mobility Pavilion at the Expo 2020 Dubai

Dubai / UAE / 2021

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Alif – The Mobility Pavilion is one of Expo 2020 Dubai’s three signature pavilions based on the sub-themes of Mobility, Sustainability and Opportunity. The Alif has been a collaborative project in partnership with Expo 2020 Dubai addressing the overall theme of Connecting Minds and Creating the Future and providing a platform to foster creativity, innovation and collaboration globally.


The Mobility Pavilion, named Alif (after the first letter of the Arabic alphabet and symbolising the beginning of progress and new horizons), occupies a dedicated plaza at the south entrance to the site.  Its ribbed and curved shape was designed to evoke movement. Its highly reflective stainless-steel cladding was inspired by chrome fenders and aircraft wings. It reflects movement from the surrounding areas making the building seem alive and in motion. The visible lines of the building’s layers hint at how we are all connected, even when physically far apart. An amphitheatre and a second stage, as well as a piazza surrounding the building, will host mobility-related performances, events, symposiums and demonstrations.


Internally, the display areas are divided into three key zones, each forming a petal in the tri-foil plan. Visitors enter directly into the central core, which features the world’s largest passenger lift, capable of holding more than 160 persons, (38 for social distancing restrictions). This moving platform takes everyone up to the third level where they can then move down through successive interconnected galleries to the lower ground floor, viewing innovative, immersive and interactive visitor experiences focussed on mobility.


A partly underground, partly open-air 330-metre track will allow visitors to see cutting-edge mobility devices in action, as well as witness mass produced technology that has the opportunity to vastly improve the quality of life for people in developing countries.


Sustainability was at the forefront of the design, and the Mobility Pavilion has been designed to LEED Gold standard. It is a self-shading building, and its metal cladding reflects heat. Photovoltaic panels on the roof take advantage of solar energy and the landscape design is sensitive to water use. After Expo 2020, the Mobility Pavilion will continue in legacy, becoming an integral element of District 2020.


 


MOBILITY PAVILION FACT SHEET


1.     Mobility Pavilion Overview


One of the three subthemes of Expo 2020 Dubai (alongside Opportunity and Sustainability), Mobility is the movement of people, goods and services, capital, data, ideas and cultures. It can mean physical movement but is also about connections, real and virtual.


Mobility is the representation of the human desire to explore and is at the core of human progress. It enables us to encounter new people, cultures and ideas, understand different values and gain knowledge to share with the world.


The Mobility Pavilion, named Alif (after the first letter of the Arabic alphabet and symbolising the beginning of progress and new horizons), will provide visitors with an exciting and thought-provoking experience, demonstrating how mobility has driven mankind’s development throughout our existence – from our humble beginnings to the interconnected world of today and beyond.


Alif – The Mobility Pavilion also addresses smart cities and the new mobility technologies, including artificial intelligence, big data, robotics, machine learning and autonomous transportation, that are transforming the way we live, learn and play.


The exhibition showcases the prominent role the region, Dubai and the UAE have played, and continue to play, in international trade, exploration and international relations.


 


2.     The Mobility Pavilion Design


Designed by award-winning British architectural design and engineering firm Foster + Partners, the Mobility Pavilion provides the feeling of mobility.


Its ribbed and curved shape was designed to evoke movement. Its highly reflective stainless steel cladding was inspired by chrome fenders and aircraft wings. It reflects movement from the surrounding areas making the building seem alive and in motion. The visible lines of the building’s layers hint at how we are all connected, even when physically far apart.


Sustainability was also at the forefront of the design, and the Mobility Pavilion has been designed to LEED Gold standard. It is a self-shading building and its metal cladding reflects heat. Photovoltaic panels on the roof take advantage of solar energy and the landscape design is sensitive to water use.


With 4,368 sqm of event space, the Mobility Pavilion can accommodate up to 2,500 visitors an hour, 30,000 visitors a day and five million visitors over the course of Expo 2020. Current COVID-19 restrictions limit the capacity to 550 visitors per hour.


A key feature of the building is the world’s largest passenger lift, which is capable of holding more than 160 persons (38 based on current social distancing restrictions) and has a twin sister in Singapore.


An amphitheatre and a second stage, as well as a piazza surrounding the building, will host mobility-related performances, events, symposiums and demonstrations.


A partly underground, partly open-air 330-metre track will allow visitors to see cutting-edge mobility devices in action, as well as witness mass produced technology that has the opportunity to vastly improve the quality of life for people in developing countries (e.g. solar-powered tricycles in Africa).


After Expo 2020, the Mobility Pavilion will continue in legacy, becoming an integral element of District 2020.


3.     The Mobility Pavilion Visitor Experience


The pavilion demonstrates how people, goods, ideas and data interact in ever more complex ways all over the world. Visitors will proceed through the past, present and future of movement, from ancient exploration to the Emirates Mission to Mars and beyond. They will learn how goods and people are moved around the world and the potential evolution of mobility in the city of the future.


The journey begins 4,500 years ago in Saruq Al Hadid, a settlement in the Dubai desert which had extensive relations with areas in the Gulf, the Levant and West Asia. Visitors are then invited aboard the world’s largest elevating platform, which takes them to the House of Wisdom in ninth-century Baghdad before going on meet the historical giants of mobility.


Visitors will encounter towering nine-metre-tall photo-realistic figures from the Golden Age of Arab Civilisation – including ancient navigator Ibn Majid and the explorer Ibn Battuta – whose innovations helped navigate the world and paved the way for the technology we use today.


From there, the Mobility Pavilion visitor experience will move forward in time to the 21st century, and the space explorers pushing new limits of mobility in the modern era. Visitors will then enter a virtual world brimming with data, before stepping into a vision of the city of tomorrow, geared towards optimising our happiness.


Elsewhere in the pavilion, visitors will be shown the incredible progress the UAE has made in mobility-related fields such as airlines, logistics and smart cities, making the country a global leader.


Key Highlights:


·       Meet historical and fictional characters used to explore the theme of Mobility, its power and its far-reaching influence


·       See nine-metre-high statues created by five-time Academy Award®-winning design studio and physical manufacturing facility, Weta Workshop


·       Enter ‘Mission Control’ of UAE’s space programme and watch the HOPE Mission to Mars


·       Watch the human-centric city of the future, as envisioned by children, take shape


·       Learn about the potential evolution of mobility in our future cities, and see Expo 2020’s Official Premier Global Trade Partner, DP World, demonstrate the complexity of moving goods around the world, and visitors will also learn about the potential evolution of mobility in our future cities’


·       Experience the story of the UAE, and the role the important role the country plays in connecting people on a global scale


·       Discover new forms of transport on the track around the pavilion – some will be available for visitors to try while others will be demonstrated by professional drivers


·       Relax at an innovative mobility-themed cafe 


4.     Mobility Pavilion Collaborators


Global exhibition company MET Studio worked to design a bold creative vision for Expo 2020 Dubai’s Mobility Pavilion, appointing a team of leading creative designers, including five-time Academy Award®-winning design studio and physical manufacturing facility Weta Workshop. The Wellington-based company shares this role with Los Angeles-based Academy Award-winning experience creators Magnopus.

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    Alif – The Mobility Pavilion is one of Expo 2020 Dubai’s three signature pavilions based on the sub-themes of Mobility, Sustainability and Opportunity. The Alif has been a collaborative project in partnership with Expo 2020 Dubai addressing the overall theme of Connecting Minds and Creating the Future and providing a platform to foster creativity, innovation and collaboration globally. The Mobility Pavilion, named Alif (after the first letter of the Arabic alphabet and symbolising...

    Project details
    • Year 2021
    • Work finished in 2021
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Pavilions
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