The Netherlands’ pavilion for the World Expo 2020 in Dubai, won the award for Sustainable Construction Project of the year 2021. The award ceremony took place at the Big 5 International Building & Construction Show. “The design and realization of the Netherlands Pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai was a true team effort, brought to life by our consortium with V8 Architects, Witteveen+Bos, Kossmanndejong and Expomobilia – MCH Live Marketing Solutions AG for DutchDubai2020. We are humbled to be recognized by the global community for this project and inspired to continue to push boundaries in sustainable solutions for temporary constructions.” Responded the DutchDubai2020 team.

Smart solutions in the pavilion

The water, energy and food sectors are strongly linked, and in the Netherlands we use this connection to our advantage to develop sustainable solutions. At the pavilion, visitors can see for theirselves how the three sectors can be linked to develop unique integrated solutions and thereby create a more sustainable world.

We showcase innovative answers to global issues like water scarcity, food security and the energy transition. For example, we will extract water from the desert air to create an indoor climate where we can grow food products such as mushrooms. We will also be generating our own energy. In our biotope these solutions are presented on a small scale, but they have the potential to be developed on a larger scale.

Besides creating a circular system in the biotope, the aim is to keep the pavilion’s ecological footprint as small as possible, too. All the pavilions on the Expo grounds are temporary. So the design team opted for a circular design, in which recycling and reusing materials is key. Furthermore, where possible local materials were used, reducing the need for transportation. After the Expo, the building materials will be repurposed or recycled locally. The same goes for the interior of the pavilion: all materials used are either biobased and biodegradable (such as floor tiles made from a combination of fungus and straw) or will be reused elsewhere.

A living showcase of Dutch circular solutions

Built using locally-sourced materials that are all reusable, recyclable, or biodegradable, The Netherlands Pavilion functions as a closed-loop biotope that generates its own water, food, and energy. Several circular solutions are are part of the pavilion.

For example:

Leadax – flat roofing
Leadax waterproofed the Netherlands Pavilion with their circular building materials, including the best quality lead-free flashing and the world’s most sustainable flat roofing. Leadax uses PVB (Polyvinyl butyral) waste from laminated glass, such as car windows as the principle raw material for its recyclable products.

Signify – light as a service
Signify, a carbon neutral company, supplied its high quality, energy-efficient LED lighting and control systems that help fulfill the purpose of the sustainability district. They also prepared the lighting design, and supported with the testing and commissioning of the lighting control system.

Koppert Biological Systems
Koppert Biological Systems provided the knowledge and biological solutions to control pests and diseases in the plants in a sustainable way. Demonstrating how it contributes towards 100% sustainable agriculture and horticulture, to promote biodiversity and enhance food safety.

Hoogendoorn Growth Management – Process automation solutions
Hoogendoorn provided the essential IIVO process computer, sensors and smart cameras. Herewith, the cultivation of the lettuce will be precisely controlled and monitored. Moreover, a production increase in the Cone will be realized in the most sustainable manner.

Marjan van Aubel – Stained glass solar cell skylights
The stained glass solar cell skylights have a double purpose. Besides providing energy these unique skylights also allow sunlight to enter the pavilion so that the water-cultivated vegetables in the biotope can grow thanks to the natural process of photosynthesis.

Buro BELÉN – Circular curtains
Buro BELÉN has designed a curtain to separate the business lounge from the visitors’ area. This 26-metre-wide and 12-metre-long custom piece is made of bio textiles. The PLA yarn was developed specially by BELÉN in collaboration with its partners and is industrially biodegradable.

Mogu – Bio-based floor tiles
Mogu supplied bio-based floor tiles and acoustic wall modules for the lounge area, produced using mycelium, the vegetative part of mushrooms. The use of these innovatively circular materials will demonstrate the unprecedented opportunities that emerge when you commit to partnering with nature.

Raw Paints – Circular paint
RAW Paints made sure that even the finishing touch of the pavilion’s SunGlacier, the solution that produces water from air, was done in a sustainable way. By painting the machine with their unique formula which is without titanium dioxide, without volatile organic compounds and without pesticides. Also RAW Paints produces mineral-based paint powder and does not use water in production or transport.

Ap Verheggen – Sunglacier
Designer Ap Verheggen & SunGlacier Technologies developed the solar-powered rain shower ‘SunGlacier’, a Dutch innovation that allows to harvest hundreds of liters water at the pavilion every day. The sustainable solar-powered water-from-air technology makes it possible in the future to produce food without being dependent on rainfall, rivers or other traditional water sources. The ‘SunGlacier’ technology will extract hundreds of litres of water daily from the desert air. The water will be purified using a distinctive, innovative method.