Malaysia says that work on ‘Rainforest Canopy’ Expo 2020 Dubai pavilion is on schedule

Pavilion is the first Net Zero Carbon initiative at Expo 2020 and reflects the country’s sustainable outlook

Malaysia has announced that work on its Expo 2020 pavilion, which is being modelled on the country’s rainforests canopy and will highlight its commitment to sustainability, is progressing as per schedule.

Addressing a press conference, the Malaysian Ambassador to the UAE, HE Mohd Tarid Sufian said, the pavilion, which spans an area of 1,234.05 sqm, is the first Net Zero Carbon initiative at Expo 2020. He added that it is an ‘architectural marvel that blends esoteric design with animation elements to provide a sublime experience of Man-Nature relationship to visitors’.

“We wanted to remind the need to have a sustainable outlook on life and business in these challenging times through our `Rainforest Canopy’ concept at EXPO 2020, a nodal global event contributing to the efforts of a post-COVID economic recovery,” Sufian said.

For Malaysia, Expo 2020 is a strategic platform to accelerate economic growth and tide over the impact of the pandemic, and to communicate to the world its focus on sustainable solutions, he continued.

The Malaysian pavilion will feature participation from 22 government ministries, 40 agencies and five state governments. Together the entities will conduct 26 weekly trade and business programmes throughout the show for six months. It is also estimated that at least 200 Malaysian business delegations will also be part of the large contingent of participants from the country.

“In line with the theme of EXPO 2020 – ‘Connecting Minds, Creating Future,’ – the Pavilion will bring together a diverse group of businesses from over 10 different industry verticals spread across six clusters,” Sufian explained.

Malaysia’s commitment to sustainability and fostering symbiotic relationship between Man and Nature is the focus of the pavilion. The Theme of the pavilion is `Energising Sustainability,’ – which captures the country’s commitment to balance socio-economic progress with environmental protection.

Situated between the Sustainability District and Mobility District at the EXPO 2020 premises, the pavilion endeavours to highlight the need for humanity to be sensitive to nature’s harmony.

Meranti wood has been extensively used for the pavilion’s façade to make a statement about Malaysia’s sustainable forestry practices and timber products. To enhance the impact of the design, a novel engineering method has been deployed to project the meranti outward.

“You will find the `Rainforest Canopy’ concept in the middle of the desert enchanting, complete with tree clusters to walk through flanked by robust flora and fauna and a river meandering in between. The aim is to rekindle the experience of the benign Nature and reflect on how it has protected mankind all along,” said Shamsul Bahar Mohd. Nor, CEO of the Malaysian Green Technology and Climate Change Centre (MGTC), the implementing agency for Malaysia’s participation in Expo 2020.

The lead ministry for Malaysia’s overall participation is the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.

Bahar said that the message of sustainable living and environmental protection was imperative in times of global warming and climate change, adding that the pavilion is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through 20% energy savings achieved with eco-friendly architecture and construction.

“Building the pavilion was a challenging project, but exciting too as it blended superior skills with imagination to provide visitors an immersive experience of being in a rainforest. Technology and design are combined in the right proportions to create a truly work of art,” added Bahar.

The animated pavilion features special projections, including a waterfall effect against the backdrop a desert landscape. The stream originates from the top of the pavilion and snakes its way down the ramp, which has a suspension bridge feel while walking on it.

As visitors set foot on the pavilion’s grounds, light poles designed to sway lightly will welcome them. The pavilion itself is a lightweight structure, flexible for dismantling and reuse, made with just the right amount of steel. The pavilion is built on small footprint but once inside visitors would experience a larger feel of space, Bahar added.

“In line with the architectural intent of ‘touching the ground lightly’, the exhibition halls are suspended on very long slender legs, hovering 4-6 meters above the ground. The three exhibition halls which touch the earth at as few points as possible, are intended to invoke references to the tropical jungle, with allegorical tree-columns reaching up for sunlight,” he explained.

Sufian said that participation at the EXPO 2020 will help enhance trade and investment relations with the UAE, the largest trading partner and export destination in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries for Malaysia. The total bilateral trade in 2020 was $4.9 billion comprising of $2.03 billion in exports and $2.89 billion in imports. The UAE is also the second largest import source for Malaysia after Saudi Arabia.

“Our participation will further reinforce bilateral relationship and nurture more business to business, people to people and government to government connections,” he said, adding that the participating companies from Malaysia are from various verticals, including Education, Youth. Trade, Industry 4.0, STI, Environment; Sustainable Agriculture & Agri-commodity, Tourism & Culture; E-Commerce, ICT, Halal Industry and Islamic Banking.

He added that the Expo will also help Malaysia revive its tourism sector and with this in mind the pavilion will have a permanent segment for art, culture, and tourism at the pavilion’s ‘Energising Harmony’ Zone. The other three segments are the ‘Energising Today’, ‘Energising Tomorrow’ and ‘Energising Business’ zones.

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