Uniting water, energy, and food for perfect synergy

At the Dutch pavilion at the World Expo in Dubai, which starts in October this year, water, (solar) energy, and food create a fully functioning biotope, inspired by the country of the Netherlands.

Called DutchDubai, the theme of the Dutch pavilion is ‘uniting water, energy and food’. The exhibition aims to show the connection the Netherlands makes between sustainable energy, water management, agriculture and circularity. The work of the designers reminds of the fragility and finiteness of the world, especially the depletion of natural resources.

As opposed to some structures built for World Expos in the past, like the Eiffel tower and the Atomium, the Dutch pavilion will be completely dismounted at the end of the exhibition, with a minimum carbon footprint by using reusable, recyclable or biodegradable materials. Steel sheet piles and steel pipes were rented locally and will be returned after the Expo ends. The floor and wall of the lounge area are covered in biobased construction material made of mycelium, by Italian company Mogu. The curtains in the business lounge and UV resistant blinds at the pavilion’s entrance are made from biobased polymers and produced by Buro Belén.

The centrepiece of the exhibition is SunGlacier, the design by Ap Verheggen. Said to be a world’s first, the installation can generate water from the dry desert air and rain down hundreds of litres of water on visitors each day. The solar cells in the pavilion’s skylight, devised by solar designer Marjan van Aubel, along with regular solar roof panels, provide the SunGlacier with electricity. At the same time, the skylight allows sunlight to enter the pavilion, which plants need for photosynthesis.

A giant green cone covered in plants hangs in the middle of the pavilion, which is irrigated with the harvested water. On the inside, the ‘food cone’ has the perfect conditions for growing oyster mushrooms: cold, dark and humid. Its design keeps the pavilion cool. The humidified air, rich in CO2, also provides the perfect climate to grow the edible plants on the outside of the cone.

The World Expo takes place from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022.

Images via Dutch Dubai