the cone-shaped clay buildings of the austrian pavilion at expo dubai perfectly imitate wind towers

Austrian Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai

reading of the Vienna-based architecture office ‘querkraft architekten’ EXPO 2020 DubaiThe slogan of ‘Connecting minds, creating the future’ and almost immediately, the design team thought of an Austrian pavilion that would unite the traditional roots of the Arab country with the collective defense of renewable resources.

The result carves 38 intersecting cones for the Austrian pavilion where duality exists. The exterior of the architecture reflects wind towers with their conical mold and circular opening at the top, while the interior presents a serene environment through clay plaster that visitors can touch and feel.

images courtesy of quekraft architekten | photo © Andreas Keller Fotografie (unless otherwise noted)

Querkraft architects drew their influences from historic wind towers and the weather regulating qualities of traditional Moorish clay architecture. They merged the two by building 38 conical structures at different heights and with various openings to display the Austrian EXPO pavilion.

Arranged around three verdant courtyards, the room’s sequences gradually shift from sunlight-filled to shaded spaces, all dictated by the sloping arches of the entrances.

Trees and vegetation slip through at times and often appear as additive elements creating a sense from the inside out. As Querkraft states, ‘with the canopy of leaves rustling in the wind, above the open cones, and the omnipresent interplay of light and shadow, the building itself appeals to all the senses.’

austria pavilion exhibition 2020 dubai
interiors | photo © Kieran Fraser Landscape Design

Easy to disassemble and assemble.

Conceived with economic use of resources in mind from the start, the Austrian pavilion at EXPO 2020 Dubai by querkraft architects it was possible thanks to the construction of eight different types of precast elements. After 182 days of EXPO 2020, which took place from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022, the cones were disassembled into their individual parts and reassembled at a new location within the Arab world.

The interplay of local building tradition and Austrian climate engineering made it possible to dispense with conventional air conditioning technology, even in this hot desert climate. ‘The energy requirement has been reduced by more than 70 per cent compared to buildings of similar type and usage. The Querkraft pavilion therefore makes an intercultural contribution to the energy debate and climate-sensitive building issues,’ architects write.

austria pavilion exhibition 2020 dubai
entering the Austrian pavilion at EXPO 2020 Dubai

In line with this overall theme, the Austria pavilion offers a suitable space for multicultural dialogue on issues of a sustainable future, which these days has been reconfigured due to overuse. The architects say that the ethos they worked on for the project lay in the phrase ‘Austria makes sense’, which they saw as an ambiguous slogan by which their country presents itself.

austria pavilion exhibition 2020 dubai

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