expo 2020 dubai, the first world expo ever hosted in the middle east, africa, and south asia (MEASA) region, is getting ready to welcome the world later this year. after being postponed as a result of the pandemic, the event was rescheduled for 2021 and will open to the public on october 1. the event’s organizers have already invited visitors to preview the site with many of the pavilions already complete. through the theme of ‘connecting minds, creating the future’, the expo will showcase the best examples of collaboration, innovation, and cooperation from around the globe.

with expo 2020 dubai set to open on october 1, 2021, designboom takes a closer look at some of the national pavilions on display, including structures designed by vincent callebaut, WOHA, and moon hoon. read our list in full below with insights from the architects involved.

japan pavilion

expo 2020 dubai national pavilions
image and video courtesy of expo 2020 dubai

designed by yuko nagayama, the japan pavilion features a façade that combines traditional arabesque and asanoha patterns — representing the long history of connections and crossing of culture between japan and the middle east. ‘in terms of the cultural connection, I took my starting point from the similarities we can see between middle eastern and japanese geometrical patterns, and explored this across a facade that is a new kind of geometrical 3D lattice serving as the structure and environmental filter,’ explains tokyo-basd architect yuko nagayama. the pavilion’s elevations also protect occupants from the hot sun, while a pool of water in front of the structure will cool the area and reflect the dynamic façade.

france pavilion

expo 2020 dubai national pavilions
image courtesy of expo 2020 dubai

the france pavilion has been designed by the collaborative team of atelier perez prado and celnikier & grabli architectes. climbing to a total height of 21 metres (69 feet), the pavilion is topped with 2,500 square meters (26,910 sqf) of photovoltaic solar tiles and will provide a panoramic view of the expo site. light is the architectural theme for the pavilion and this will be expressed in various forms, including daily light shows. the pavilion also seeks to showcase the country’s renowned gastronomy.

belgium pavilion

video courtesy of the belgium pavilion

the belgium pavilion, referred to as ‘the green arch’, has been designed by archibiotect vincent callebaut. with a focus on sustainability, the building will host 10,000 plants as well as showcasing the country’s world-famous fries. ‘the ‘green arch’ will be belgium’s showcase for six months,’ callebaut tells designboom. ‘as an architect, we want to promote the know-how and innovations of the best belgian manufacturers and companies in all fields. the gourmet kiosks, the immersive exhibition, the brasserie, the business center, each space is carefully thought out to highlight our art of living, our gastronomy, our ingenuity, our engineering, and our ecological commitments.’

switzerland pavilion

expo 2020 dubai national pavilions
image courtesy of expo 2020 dubai

designed by OOS, the switzerland pavilion reflects the country and its diversity — from magnificent landscapes to innovative projects and ideas for a sustainable future. in reference to temporary tent buildings of the bedouins, the pavilion is made of scaffolding elements and textiles, while the façade is clad with a giant interactive mirrored façade. internally, visitors can go on a hike through a sea of fog, or even travel on a magic carpet. the route culminates in one of the expo’s best views on the pavilion’s roof terrace.

korea pavilion

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video courtesy of the korea pavilion

the republic of korea pavilion has been designed by moon hoon alongside mooyuki architects. exploring the future of mobility, the building features a dynamic façade that constantly changes through the course of day, while the kinetic installation interacts with its audience and surroundings. ‘the design is very spontaneous, sketchy, energetic, and ephemeral and has many many vertigo-inspiring rampways,’ moon hoon tells designboom. ‘the whole building is an expression of possibilities and the potential of an exhibition architecture and artwork.’

australia pavilion