A Self-Sustained Urban Rainforest Takes Root at Expo 2020 Dubai – Architectural Digest

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This article originally appeared on AD Middle East.
If you enter (or exit) Expo 2020 Dubai from the Sustainability district portals, you can’t help but be mesmerized by a mirage-like oasis teeming with a thousand shades of green, where a glistening canopy and reflection pool create a magical first impression. This is the Singapore Pavilion, designed by WOHA Architects and embodying the theme of Nature.Nurture.Future, courtesy of the Singaporean landscape design studio Salad Dressing
The Singapore Pavilion.
Built around three conical structures, the pavilion speaks to Singapore’s diverse ecosystem, the country's commitment to protecting it, and the impact of rampant industrialization on the environment. Entering through the Ground Garden, visitors are immersed in soothing misty air (the perfect antidote to the current climate) and scents of nature. The metal structure concealed behind the flora—of which there are 170 varieties, some brought in from Singapore and others locally sourced—reveals a winding path that leads to the first stop, the City Cone.
Guests are welcomed by a reflection pool.
The pavilion stretches across three conical structures.
The contrast inside is stark and uncomfortable, as a panoramic film is projected onto the cold white interiors of the cone. Crafted by Singaporean creative Brian Gothong Tan, the cinematic experience layers animated matte paintings, drone footage, and hundreds of videos to depict environmental challenges faced by global urbanization.
Each of the pavilion’s cone structures is themed to a different plant life narrative.
Inside the Singapore Pavilion.
The gently ascending path then leads onto the Rainforest Cone, which recreates a thickly foliaged jungle. The space abounds with plants from the equatorial rainforest. At its center is a kinetic sculpture inspired by the Dipterocarp tree, the giant of the Southeast Asian rainforest. A fog system keeps the cone humid, mimicking the plants’ natural habitat, while the sheer abundance and density of plants creates its own micro-climate.
The density of plant life within the pavilion creates a micro-climate.
Part floral installation, part botanist’s laboratory, the Flower Cone celebrates Singapore’s pioneering work on orchid hybridization and conservation. With its sculptural floral installations, the cone is more than just the perfect Instagram moment. Its plant gel and misting setup is designed to retain every drop of water, which is then used to maintain plant life.
A misting system is designed to retain every drop of water released within the pavilion.
Featuring over 500 solar panels that power a built-in desalination process, the open-air structure allows for natural ventilation and even tracks mounted robots that monitor plant health. Alas, the Singapore Pavilion is a refreshing trip back to nature.
The infrastructure includes mounted robots that can track and monitor plant health.

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