Italy’s Expo 2020 Dubai pavilion to have upside-down ships for roof

Design team says ships will arrive in Dubai by sea and can be used in different ways after the end of the expo

The Italian pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai will draw inspiration from the theme ‘beauty connects people’ and tell an engaging story of the nation’s achievements in art, technology, engineering and sustainability.

The winning proposal was submitted by a consortium comprising of Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA), Italo Rota Building Office, F&M Ingegneria and Matteo Gatto & Associati. The pavilion will take up a surface of around 3,500sqm and will be over 25m tall. It will be located in the Opportunity District according to the expo organisers.

The exterior of the pavilion will consist of three ships overturned and raised sideways on tall pillars, which will make up the roof of the pavilion. Each hull of the ship will be painted in a different way, so that they seem like three petals in the colours of the Italian flag, when seen from above.

CRA said that these ships will arrive in Dubai by sea and be repurposed after the expo.

Carlo Ratti, founding partner of CRA practice and director of the MIT Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said: “Reusing the ships once on land was an act that had a profound appeal to us, not only because it is laden with historical value, but because it represents the realization of a circular architecture from the project’s beginning.”

“The ships that become part of the pavilion can continue to be used in different ways even after the end of the Expo,” he added.

“The exhibition path will be marked by a gradual ascent until a point where it becomes possible, with some help from the imagination, to observe Italy from the sky,” explained architect Italo Rota, founding partner of Italo Rota Building Office.

“There will be a ‘Prologue’ with large spaces inspired by the forms of important Italian piazze, and a Grand Finale that will be almost like a cathedral to nature, to light, to the music of the universe, like the sky over the Mediterranean and the Desert.”

The expo organisers added that the inclusion of the hulls pays tribute to the historical Italian explorers, the nation’s seafaring expertise, and its modern fishing industry. Meanwhile through beauty as the connecting influence, the Mediterranean nation will offer insights into its historical and present-day accomplishments, they added.

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