Vorhang auf für den hohen Norden
Finnischer Expo-Pavillon in Dubai von JKMM Architects
Foto: Marc Goodwin
The first sprinkling of snow in winter, a Bedouin tent, the organic architecture of Alvar Aalto and Finland’s lake landscapes – the Finnish Expo pavilion in Dubai by JKMM evokes a number of diverging and occasionally conflicting associations. As JKMM co-founder Teemu Kurkela relates, in designing the pavilion the studio sought to bring a fragment of the Finnish landscape into the desert emirate of Dubai. Plus he emphasizes that apart from a few exceptions, the structure is built of locally produced materials. Dismantability was a further concern: the basic structure of the pavilion consists of a steel skeleton frame with walls in industrial sandwich panels.
The cubic volume measuring 49 x 19 x 15 metres has an exterior envelope in white PVC-coated polyester fabric; the actual entrance façade behind it is clad in satin-finish aluminium sheeting. Two artificial pools flank the 13-metre-high tent-like entry in the outer skin. The only larger opening, it leads directly to the heart of the volume – the Gorge, an organically formed internal court, rising through all three storeys and topped with a foil-covered oculus. This enclosed space, primarily intended for personal encounters and conversations away from the bustle of the Expo, is clad in 750 square metres of squared wooden slats measuring 18 x 18 millimetres in size and has Finnish granite setts for its flooring. But the Gorge leads no further, being a cul-de-sac structure; rather, the three-storey exhibition is accessed from both sides of the large entrance slit behind the membrane envelope. However, the usual mix of audio-visual media in exhibition design awaits inside, where a 53-metre-long circumferential film display – the longest in all the interior spaces – provides insights into life in a nation that takes pride in being the happiest on earth.
Light and Sound Engineering: Sun Effects
General Contractor: Expomobilia
Construction Company on Site: Cimolai Richmond