USA Pavilion unveiled in EXPO 2020 Dubai

The Woods Bagot-designed pavilion at the long-awaited EXPO 2020 Dubai is a celebration of American people and ideas expressed in American red oak (Image: Natalee Cocks)

Designed by architecture studio Woods Bagot and delivered by experience design firm Thinkwell Group, the USA Pavilion spans over 4,000m2 and takes visitors of EXPO 2020 Dubai on a journey celebrating the past, present, and future of American innovation through eight exhibits featuring national artifacts such as Thomas Jefferson’s personal copy of the Quran, a scaled replica of the Statue of Liberty’s torch, a touchable lunar sample, and a model of the Mars Opportunity Rover.

There is also a signature multimedia presentation titled “The Sky Is No Longer the Limit” with a full-scale replica of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket standing 42m tall just outside the pavilion. A light show projected on the exterior of the rocket documents the story of America’s space exploration to “blast off” each night.

The USA Pavilion is not all high technology, however, and the design incorporates standout elements in naturally finished solid American red oak, including the interior main staircase, bench seating and feature walkthrough in the main auditorium and exterior cladding surrounding the imposing main entrance. Facilitated by the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) and donated and installed by Dubai-based wood flooring specialists Lobo & Listone, the red oak provides a natural counterpoint to the otherwise ultramodern design.

Over 250m2 of red oak planks were donated by Lobo & Listone, equating to a volume of approximately 6 cubic metres. Such is the size and rate of growth of the red oak resource in the US that it would take just 6.25 seconds for all the red oak used to be replaced in the US hardwood forest through natural regeneration. Furthermore, until such time as the red oak is burnt or decomposes, it will keep 6.4 metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent out of the atmosphere.

There are more American hardwoods in the USA Pavilion at EXPO 2020, including engineered white oak flooring in the giftshop and restaurant, also supplied by Lobo & Listone, and American black walnut veneers in the rear entrance lobby and throughout the bar and meeting rooms.

“Being a staunch promoter of sustainable living who supplies sustainably sourced wood flooring products in the Middle East, I was delighted to accept the invitation to provide wood flooring and allied works for the USA Pavilion at EXPO 2020 Dubai,” commented Francis Lesly Lobo of Lobo & Listone. “Their choice of American red oak for the purpose was brilliant, especially as the unique properties of American red oak – hard and stable when dry, and easy to finish and stain – made it ideal for the project. A task well accomplished and widely appreciated, it was a project that we prided ourselves in.”

Roderick Wiles, AHEC Regional Director, concluded: “Of course it is wonderful to see sustainable American hardwoods in the USA Pavilion. It just makes sense. And I was particularly taken by the red oak cladding at the main entrance, which is in stark contrast to the rest of the all-metal star-studded exterior.” 

Expo 2020 Dubai runs until 31 Mar 2022.