A closer look at Terra - The Sustainability Pavilion, one of three finalists in the 2021 GRAY Awards Commercial Landscape category.
Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion
Landscape design for Terra—The Sustainability Pavilion at Dubai EXPO 2020—marks a huge leap forward in establishing a new, sustainable form of landscape architecture in the Middle East. Featuring countless innovations and trials of new materials, the pavilion urges future designed landscapes to adopt and build upon these precedents. More than 100 'new' plant species were brought into cultivation as part of the landscape design, many being grown from seed collected in the United Arab Emerites' wadis, deserts, and mountains. The pavilion’s paving, another unique aspect of the project, incorporates recycled glass and waste materials from the metal smelting industry. This signature paving finish is visually striking, yet also highly sustainable. Meanwhile, bamboo composites are employed in lieu of hardwoods while the entire planting palette represents a huge step forward in the use of native and adaptive plants within a designed landscape.
Eschewing use of concrete walls to retain the site’s significant level changes, the landscape designers instead employed gabion baskets filled with locally sourced rubble. This allows the retaining structures to not only contribute an earthy aesthetic, but hugely reduces the project’s carbon footprint.
The pavilion landscape is composed of a number of different zones, each delivering a particular aesthetic and message. Each zone is bound by a common flowing, undulating language which gradually focuses smaller tributaries and paths towards a main wadi path, which then descends towards the sunken entrance of the building. These flowing lines serve not only to enhance the narrative and aesthetic, but likewise guide the convergence of visitors towards the entrance of the pavilion itself. With a number of arching walls accentuating the undulating pathways, visitors can enjoy exploring spaces which are concealed, then revealed in an engaging sequence. Throughout the landscape, visitors learn about the flora, fauna and environment of the UAE through interpretations, sculptures, and messages.
Photos Courtesy of desert INK
Date of Completion: 2020
Additional Landscape Design, Commercial finalists:
University of Cincinnati North Main Plaza
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