The National Media Council has selected architect Santiago Calatrava’s falcon-inspired design for the UAE’s pavilion for the Dubai Expo 2020.

Located right in the centre of the 200-hectare exhibition zone, the UAE Pavilion will resemble a falcon in mid-flight, and will be the face of the UAE to the Expo 2020’s expected 25 million visitors.

The pavilion will cover a total of 15,000 square metres, and will feature a number of exhibition areas, an auditorium, food and beverage outlets as well as VIP lounges.

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Architect Santiago Calatrava’s design was chosen following a competition that lasted seven months and saw nine of the world’s most renowned architectural companies submit a total of 11 ideas. The winner was chosen based on certain criteria, including how relevant the design was to the Expo’s “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” theme, as well as how well it balanced the essence of both modern and old Emirati culture.

Speaking about the design, Minister of State and National Media Council Chairman Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said: “The proposed design of the UAE Pavilion captures the story we want to tell the world about our nation.

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“Our founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan used falconry expeditions to forge connections between tribes and to create a distinct national identity which ultimately led to the founding of the United Arab Emirates.

Santiago Calatrava is also behind The Dubai Tower, which will be taller than Burj Khlaifa

Santiago Calatrava is also behind The Dubai Tower, which will be taller than Burj Khlaifa

“Now the falcon design will symbolise how we are connecting the UAE to the minds of the world and how as a global community we can soar to new heights through partnership and cooperation.”

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Santiago Calatrava is no stranger to undertaking large and important architectural projects, and is the mastermind behind the recently announced bigger-than-the-Burj tower, The Tower at Dubai Creek Harbour.

Talking about having his design chosen for the UAE’s pavilion, Calatrava said: “I am deeply honoured that our practice has been chosen to design the national pavilion for Dubai Expo 2020, a project of national and global significance.

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“I am confident that the final design will be a symbol of the bold and daring spirit of the UAE, reflected in what is poised to be the most inclusive and global Expo in history.”

Check out some of Santiago Calatrava’s previous work:

St Exupery Airport in Lyon, France

Lyon St Exupery

Innovation, Science and Technology building in Lakeland, Florida


The Ecuba stage in Rome, Italy



Images: Supplied, Calatrava