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Austria’s eco-friendly pavilion at Expo 2020, a viable alternative for the region?

The Austrian pavilion for the next World Expo, originally planned for 2020 but postponed because of Covid-19, impresses with its design. In all its essence, both in its architecture and in the words chosen, it is in full adequacy with the great environmental challenges of our time. 

The Austrian pavilion at the next World Expo will consume 70% less energy than a conventional UAE building with air conditioning. Having said that, one has to wonder how viable such a design is in a region where climatic conditions make it almost impossible to envisage housing without these energy-intensive air-cooling systems

Located in the Expo’s “opportunity district,” this ambitious architectural concept consists of upturned cones made from a 9,000-year-old material, a type of loam that can be sandy, silty or clayey, interesting for its virtues, as it is both draining and retains moisture well. By adding ventilation, its designers felt that the building would allow visitors to attend the various workshops and visit the facilities in the best possible conditions, without having to endure too much of the sometimes stifling heat of the region. 

A concept to export

According to the project manager, Austrian Beatrix Karl, “the structure combines ecology and technology, in order to send a strong signal in terms of environmental protection. With the intention of using the platform of Expo 2020 Dubai, which will be the most visible public event during its activity, she intends to show the world how sustainable development is at the heart of the Austrians’ concerns.

Therefore, in addition to the building itself, the exhibition will show “prototypical scenarios for the climate and resource efficient buildings of tomorrow”

It remains to be seen whether the technique used in the construction of the Austrian pavilion will give ideas to local architects and designers, in order to reduce the energy needs of the building industry in the Middle East…