When you think of Dubai, the first few things that immediately come to your mind are most probably its beautiful skyscrapers and dry deserts. However, a lush and tropical green oasis is definitely not one of them.
But, that is all about to change, thanks to a Singapore architecture firm called WOHA as it is selected to build a tropical garden at next year’s World Expo in Dubai.
As the designer of The Singapore Pavilion, the firm will transform the 1,550 sq m space in the Expo’s Sustainability District into a tropical garden, to showcase Singapore’s City in a Garden image.
The Expo 2020 Dubai will be happening from 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021, and will follow an overall theme of “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”.
Conducted every five year once, the World Expo runs for six months and countries will be given an opportunity to showcase themselves through themed pavilions. Next year’s even will have 192 countries participating and is expected to attract 25 million visits.
In addition, next year’s event is Singapore’s fourth presentation at the World Expo after 2000, 2005 and 2010.
The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) will be spearheading the project and it has one simple objective – to create an oasis in the Arabian desert.
URA chief executive Lim Eng Hwee says, “The Singapore Pavilion is centred on our country’s guiding ethos of sustainable growth where we can have both economic growth and a high quality living environment”.
When visitors make their way to The Singapore Pavilion next year, they will be able to walk amid tropical trees, shrubs and orchids on the ground floor. When they move to the floor above, they can witness a canopy walk connecting three cones wrapped in vertical greenery, creating a beautiful hanging garden.
“With our design, we aim to show that it is possible to build a self-sufficient green oasis anywhere in the world, even in the desert,” says Wong Mun Summ, co-founding director of WOHA.
Wong adds, “Singapore has been exploring many ways to become one of the greenest places in the world and we hope to share this knowledge and innovation at the World EXPO”.
When asked on how the pavilion will get its water supply for all the greenery, WOHA explains that desalination systems powered completely by solar system will ensure proper irrigation.
In addition, a cantilevered roof will also be place to provide shade and cooling in order to prevent overheating.
WOHA notes that the design of the pavilion has the theme of “Nature. Nurture. Future”, which follows the city-state’s journey towards growth, sustainability and resilience.
“We do not want over-engineered and complicated methods that are not practical and are difficult to replicate, because these solutions will not be viable nor sustainable. With this pavilion we want to show that sustainability is possible without compromising on the quality of life,” stresses Wong.
“Planting more trees and creating more green spaces is the best way to take immediate action against climate change — recent studies show it to be the most effective, cost-efficient and broadly available solution to combat global warming and it can be done now, anywhere,” he adds.