Welcoming to All
‘Oasis’ is the area allocated for the waiting zones to the exterior of the UAE National Pavilion of Expo 2020. The project proposes an interactive and engaging experience for visitors to the pavilion while they wait to enter the building. The allocated spots on the project's exterior landscaping serve the purpose of a welcoming gesture for the pavilion visitors.
As a response to the brief of ‘Oasis,’ our design concept is simple and easily accessible. The idea revolves primarily around engaging the sense of smell through projecting different scents drawn from the national heritage of the UAE. The scent allocated to each spot comes from an ingredient of ‘Bakhour,’ historically imported from different locations. This idea highlights the UAE’s long history of inclusivity and strong trade bonds with other nations.
Our proposal for ‘Oasis’ proposes the use of a lightweight system of staggered, alternating arches. The arches are composed of fabric pieces of different lengths, suspended by gridded steel canopies of slanted columns, resembling open arms as a welcoming gesture to the pavilion visitors. This idea takes its origins from Islamic Architecture.
In plan, the canopies resemble Palm tree branches, which offer shade in the natural landscape of desert oasis.
Authentic to the UAE
‘Bakhour’ is a quintessential element of the national heritage of the UAE. An essential part of the traditions of welcoming guests into an Emirati home, it has its roots deep in Emirati culture. As a result, it is recognizable to locals and visitors alike.
The five allocated zones of Oasis are given different functions and characters. The zones are aligned around the ‘Falaj,’ a water channel carved into the landscape. The design is drawn from the geometries of the landscape. Its minimal exterior complements the UAE National Pavilion.
Musk, Rose Petals, Agar Wood, Sandal Wood, and Frankincense are allocated to each zone, differentiating these zones with a different scent.
Visitors can experience the scented strips by holding and smelling them or walking through the canopies as the wind moves the strips, releasing the scents. Allocating a different aroma from the ingredients of Bakhour to each zone creates an experience where scent travels and blends with its neighboring zone.
A simple linear circulation path corresponding connects the five spots of ‘Oasis’ to the Falaj.
Spot 1 is a simple steel structure indicating a marquee to draw visitors in without having them dwell for too long. On the landscape, the design covers the water source of the ‘Falaj.’
Spot 2 and 4 are open areas with benches that are 3D printed using local Sand and Natural Resins, paying homage to the desert landscapes of the UAE.
Between the benches are ‘Mist Pods’ that project scented mist once activated. Visitors can use their access tokens to activate the pods via a screen that shows information about the UAE Heritage, giving a hint on what to expect inside the National Pavilion. The mist has a dual function; to cool the visitors in unshaded areas and produce a scent.
Spot 3 and 5 have a shaded structure with mobile fabric elements that are animated with the wind. The fabric pieces that compose the sinuous interior space of the shaded zones contain a small pocket at the end of each strip, filled with different ingredients of Bakhour.
The arches are fitted with LED lighting fixtures that are sequentially programmed to generate different lighting patterns.
One programming sequence would have the lights blinking towards the pavilion, announcing the louvers opening at night and turning the attention of the visitors to this dramatic event, which takes place every night while providing an immersive multi-sensorial space and function.
Sets new Standards
Using scent as a primary sense of interaction is an idea that is not only relative to the UAE's heritage but is also a novel way to engage with the senses.
Through this proposal, we aim to awaken senses that are traditionally not triggered in architectural structures. In addition, the challenge of designing an area within an already developed proposal presented an opportunity for the lighting to engage with the National Pavilion's dramatic activity.
By syncing those two together, the canopies animate different life forms that call attention to the activity of the pavilion.
Transforms People’s Perceptions
Our design for Expo 2020 Oasis triggers people’s curiosity and offers an educational narrative within spatial elements that are essential to ensure a comfortable visitor experience.
Furthermore, we gave special attention to draw connections from the National heritage of the UAE and the strategies developed for the National Pavilion. Therefore, the design aims to strengthen the visitors’ experience by connecting these strategies.
Touches People Emotionally
Our proposal for Oasis is a subtle response to the brief calling to activate the waiting areas for the UAE National Pavilion at Expo 2020.
The design attempts to engage all its visitors' senses through multidimensional spaces that are fun, engaging, and educational. Our Oasis proposal aims at offering a glimpse of the exciting things to see inside the national pavilion.