The inauguration of Expo 2020 in Dubai, after a delay of a year due to the global pandemic, took place on October 1, 2018. This event is the first to be held in the Middle East and features 191 participants from all over the world. Each pavilion displays how its country contributed or will contribute to the theme. The pavilions are divided into three areas: Mobility, Sustainability, Opportunity. Each district is represented by its own pavilion, which includes the Sustainability Pavilion (“Terra”) by Grimshaw, Mobility Pavilion (“Alif”) by Foster + Partners, as well as the Opportunity Pavilion (“Mission Impossible”) by AGi Architects.

Continue reading to learn 6 must-see pavilions from each district that explore their chosen theme in an original and engaging way.

Mobility District

Expo 2020 Dubai provides A world of endless connections exists. As mobility continues to change the way people live, communicate with others, understand other cultures, and share knowledge and ideas, explore new horizons. The Mobility District helps to create connections that drive the world forward. It breaks down the barriers between the digital and physical worlds and builds a harmonious global society where ideas, goods, and information can be exchanged more quickly than ever before.


Belgian Pavilion. Image © Dima Stouhi

The pavilion of Belgium at 2020 Dubai Expo is called “The Green Arch”. It highlights the rise of green cities connected to the internet through its scientific, technological and industrial knowledge. Belgium’s future urban planning plans include smart mobility systems. The pavilion showcases the country’s visions of 2050, which is based on the creative innovations of smart, clean and secure mobility. Belgian architects ASSAR ARCHITECTS, Vincent Callebaut Architectures, and international Belgian contractors BESIX & Vanhout designed the pavilion.


Korean Pavilion. Image Courtesy of Expo 2020 Dubai

The Korean pavilion, entitled “Smart Korea: Moving the World to You”, explores new connections and future mobility possibilities that will lead to a hyper-connected society. Visitors can marvel at the limitless possibilities of mobility through various programs, such as virtual connections with South Korea. The pavilion also explores “Mass_ity”, a compound noun that is made up of two words, Mass and City. It reflects the relationship between cities and people. The pavilion’s facade reflects this dynamic relationship, with rotating cubes showing varying images and colors. MOOYUKI Architects (Moon Hoon+ Seong Bong Yun+ Dong Gyu Kim) designed the pavilion.

Sustainability District

Expo 2020 Dubai provides the following text description: Every day more people take a sustainable route towards a future in which we all live in harmony with our only home, Planet Earth. Small actions can grow into global movements that help people protect and preserve the environment around them. This district will show you the best of the world’s advanced technology, as well as the countries that are promoting sustainability. You’ll also see how humanity can live in harmony with the natural world in a high-tech future.

The Netherlands

Netherlands Pavilion. Image © Jeroen Musch

Expo 2020 Dubai’s Netherlands Pavilion proposes a circular climate system which harvests water, produces energy, makes rain, and produces food. This temporary biotope embodies the fusion of art, architecture, and technology. The pavilion is an experimental display of solutions to “water shortage, energy transition, and food shortages on life-size scale models.”Inside, the main exhibit is a large cone that houses a vertical farm with edible plants on the exterior and mushrooms inside. The cone’s chimney-like structure regulates temperature and moisture. The pavilion harvests water from the air humidity to be used for plant irrigation. It can extract 800 liters of water per day. V8 Architects designed the pavilion, while Kossmanndejong curates the visitor experience.


Brazilian Pavilion . Image © Dima Stouhi

Visitors can experience the Brazilian pavilion in Dubai’s Amazon basin. It is an interactive experience that transforms visitors into Brazil’s riversides using projections, sounds and smells. The pavilion recreates Brazil’s environment by filling half the pavilion’s 4,000 sqm with water. This allows visitors of all ages to get their feet wet. It also uses 140 mega projectors, which transform the translucent membrane from the steel structure into large screens that display the country’s biodiversity. The cubical structure will shade the area during the day, and illuminate it at night with digital interactive displays. This is to help Dubai’s heat. The designers said that this was an opportunity to demonstrate to the world how sustainable Brazil and our commitment to sustainable development. Sustainability means that we must understand that we are all in this together for the environment, the people, and the future. To make sustainable development concrete, these three pillars must be linked. Expo is a great platform to show this. JPG.ARQ and Ben-Avid designed the pavilion.

Opportunity District

Expo 2020 Dubai provided the following text description:Everything we do has a ripple effect. One person can unlock eight billion opportunities that will help people and communities build a better tomorrow. Now is the time to unleash your potential and become an agent for change. The Opportunity District shows how our actions and lives are interconnected. Meet people around the world who are making dreams and aspirations a reality. Learn how you can shape the future and unlock your potential.


Swiss Pavilion. Image Courtesy of Swiss Pavilion

The Swiss Pavilion at 2020 Dubai Expo is called “Reflections” and showcases Switzerland’s unique combination of technology and scenic landscapes. The pavilion’s interior is divided into three parts that allow visitors to see the country’s unique features as well as its journey from tradition and state-of the-art innovation. The pavilion’s entire experience communicates Switzerland’s strengths and potential in business, education, research, innovation and business. Visitors queue up to experience the “typically Swiss” aspect of the pavilion while they wait in line before the mirrored facade. For the second act, visitors “hike” through fog surrounded with unique panoramas of nature. Visitors emerge from the fog to see an artistic interpretation of a mountain panorama. This is the authentic Swiss experience. The third and final act focuses on an urban environment and creativity, reflecting Switzerland’s status as a leading innovator country. OOS Architekten designed the pavilion, with Bellprat Partner as the scenographer, and Lorenz Eugster as the landscape.


Bahrain Pavilion. Image © Dima Stouhi

The pavilion of the Kingdom of Bahrain explores how “density weaves opportunity”. Despite its small land area and sixth-densest country, Bahrain has made great strides through local trade, entrepreneurship and innovation. The pavilion’s “density” is translated from its long-standing culture and history. As a metaphor for density, the immersive spatial experience is centered around weaving. This traditional craft has been practiced in the country for many years. The pavilion displays the evolution of weaving from traditional looms weaving and embroidering to new weaving technologies like fiber glass and carbon fibre. The interior is composed of 126 steel columns measuring 11cm in diameter and 24m high. They intersect at times throughout the space’s height. Christian Kerez Zurich AG designed the pavilion.