Cover The Canopy Walk amidst a lush landscape of verdant greens at the Singapore Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai

Held from October 1 to March 31, 2022, the Singapore Pavilion presented at Expo 2020 Dubai is designed by Woha and showcases how nature can thrive even in a limited space

What will Singapore look like or hope to become in the future? A sustainable oasis, according to the Singapore Pavillion at Expo 2020 in Dubai. The World Expo, often labelled as one of the “world’s greatest shows”, showcases the achievements and highlights of different nations through exhibitions and pavilions. This year, Singapore is showcasing its vision of being a “city in nature”.

The Singapore Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has tapped homegrown architect firm Woha to design the site this year. Themed Nature, Nurture, Future, the six-month exhibition—which runs till March 31, 2022—integrates nature, technology and architecture to create immersive experiences that will offer visitors a glimpse of the nation’s innovations and aspirations as a resilient city in nature.

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The pavilion is designed by Woha as a “prototype that demonstrates how the built environment can co-exist with nature”. It mirrors Singapore as a city in many ways: the site, spanning 1,550sqm, is located on one of the smallest plots in the Expo, and space is maximised and multiplied through stacked levels and layers, just like in land-scarce Singapore. 

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Despite its location in the Arabian desert, the pavilion is a lush oasis. The entire pavilion is flourishing with over 170 varieties of plants in the form of tropical greenery, verdant shrubs, and bright orchids. The beautiful biophilic experience is further elevated with a hanging garden as well as three thematic zones entitled Rainforest, City, and Flower. Draped in vertical greenery, each cone house exhibits displaying Singapore’s urban environment and current efforts to create a sustainable future.

Besides offering a rich and vibrant environment, the plants—which will grow to be even denser over the course of the Expo—also provide ecosystem services such as solar heat reduction, oxygen production, reduction of other pollutants such as PM10 particles as well as providing a habitat for animals and insects. Local start-up Oceania Robotics has also developed three prototype climbing robots that will maintain the vertical green walls by crawling across the space to inspect the plants’ health and collect data.

A meandering canopy walk will lead visitors to an open sky market platform that features a solar canopy to shelter the pavilion and generate electricity. The cooling area, fitted with fine mist fans, offers visitors a chance to learn more about Singapore’s efforts and initiatives to become a globally renowned Garden City through exhibits and programs. 

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The Singapore Pavilion is net-zero in its energy usage. Operating on electricity from the solar canopy at the open sky market platform, the pavilion uses an efficient solar reverse-osmosis desalination system to meet its water needs. This demonstrates the nation’s efforts to create a sustainable future and reinforces the aspiration of the exhibition: to create a resilient and transformational green environment where humans can co-exist with nature.

  • ImagesSingapore Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai