The Curved Qatar Pavilion at Dubai Expo Represents Country’s Coat of Arms | Santiago Calatrava

The Curved Qatar Pavilion at Dubai Expo Represents Country’s Coat of Arms | Santiago Calatrava

The Qatar Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020 embodies the modern interpretation of the four elements available in the Coat of Arms of Qatar. Designed by internationally renowned architect, Santiago Calatrava, the pavilion design details take cues from the two curved and crossed swords, comprising a Dhow boat and an island with two palm trees, which are the core of the national emblem of the state of Qatar adopted in 1976. Read other striking features of the pavilion below at SURFACES REPORTER (SR):


Also Read: UAE Pavilion at Dubai Expo Features The Shape of A Falcon Wing | Santiago Calatrava


The Qatar pavilion sprawls over an area of 960 sqm and covers a total built area of about 620 sqm. The main intersecting structure of the building rises to a height of almost 15 meters, with an adjoining structure reaching 20 meters.

"The Qatar Pavilion pays tribute to the country's coat of arms, which is rooted in its rich history and cultural heritage," said Calatrava, who heads his eponymous practice.

Curvilinear Shape of the pavilion

The curvilinear design of the pavilion exudes the picture of “sails on passing ships”. It features two crossed and curved swords, inspired by Qatar's coat of arms. They appear as a patch of seawater, on which an island with palm trees and a conventional dhow boat is positioned. The gold-colored structure on its facade symbolizes palm trees. 

Also Read: Terra: A Sustainable Pavilion Revealed by Grimshaw at Dubai Expo That Generates Its Own Water and Energy


qatar-pavilion"The structure’s surroundings tell as much of a story as the building itself. The entrance to the pavilion is marked by a sculptural monument that represents two intertwined palm trees and is surrounded by water features that serve as an homage to the Arabian Gulf which encompasses the nation of Qatar."

According to the Swiss-Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the curved shape of Qatar’s pavilion reflects the essence of the badge, through a design that oozes "movement, mobility, strength, and tradition."

Muted Tones 

The interiors of the pavilion feature muted and subtle tones. A neutral hue wraps the pavilion’s sweeping structure.



In addition, the pavilion’s elevating angles encapsulate the curved shape of the dhow boat.


"The pavilion’s design emulates a modern interpretation of Qatar’s progressive outlook of the future and history," the studio said. "We hope visitors will walk away truly understanding the essence of Qatar."

Inside the Pavilion

The pavilion contains two main galleries and exhibition spaces that provide an immersive and educational experience of Qatar’s history to visitors.

Gallery 1

The first gallery functions as an introductory space and invites guests to explore the present, past, and future of Qatar through sound effects, visual arts, and music. Different technologies from holographic projections and mirror screens to transparent LED screens, 6 illusions, and 3D mapping are used to display key themes that characterize Qatar’s story. The real-like illusions bring animated objects indie the pavilion to life.


Gallery 2 

This gallery provides visitors with an enchanting and unforgettable audio-visual experience that moves from expressive evocations to spell-binding imagery. It comprises 6 illusion mirror totems along with a wrap-around projection screen that allows visitors to encounter an experience that moves from calmness to heightened emotion, from individualized to the global, and from the abstract to reality.
The Qatar pavilion was realized in just five months owing to its non-linear, non-traditional design technique and an integrated design and accelerated construction strategy.

Project Details

Name: Qatar Pavilion
Architecture Firm: Santiago Calatrava
Event: Expo 2020 Dubai
Event Dates: October 1, 2021 – march 31, 2022
Main Contractor: Alec Fitout
Engineer of Record: Aurecon 
Contract Manager: Omnium

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