“Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”
With CAMPUS GERMANY, the focus is on the subtheme of sustainability.
One year later than planned, probably the largest world exhibition of all time has started: Expo 2020 Dubai. What would otherwise be dominated by dunes and barren desert landscapes is now home to futuristic pavilions. The German Pavilion is dedicated to the subtheme of sustainability as part of the World Expo – from the building to the furnishings and the exhibition, it is designed to enchant visitors.
To find out more about CAMPUS GERMANY, Sedus spoke to Christian Tschersich from LAVA – Laboratory for Visionary Architecture, responsible for the architecture and spatial concept of CAMPUS GERMANY.
1. “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” – this is the motto under which the countries of the world are currently meeting in Dubai. The Expo opened its doors at the beginning of October 2021 and closes on March 31, 2022 and Germany is represented with its own pavilion. How did you integrate the Expo’s mission statement into the design of CAMPUS GERMANY?
The German Pavilion has been designed to be an inviting and open space for knowledge transfer and exchange. The architectural ensemble of precisely arranged individual volumes / building bodies conveys an open and transparent image. This way, the building projects the motto “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,” even when viewed from the outside.
It is not a building in the traditional sense: The profusion of building volumes represents Germany’s federal system and the diversity of its industry and research sectors. The interplay of the stacked cubes and the enclosed voids create an interesting alternation between interior and exterior spaces. It offers many exciting and surprising perspectives: Between the cubes with the three labs, visitors will repeatedly find themselves in the galleries of the open atrium and will experience CAMPUS GERMANY in all its spectacular diversity.
2. Germany has committed to the subtheme of sustainability at Expo 2020 Dubai. How do the materials used contribute to the fact that CAMPUS GERMANY does particular justice to the environmental approach?
The topic of sustainability lies at the core of the design. The German Pavilion is based on the principle of circular construction. The building is 95% recyclable: Some components can be reused in their current form after the pavilion has been taken down. Other components will be returned to their respective raw material cycles and can then be used in the production of new building materials. The base and roof of the building best illustrate this concept: The roof, for example, consists of over 1,200 individual steel members that can be reassembled in their current form once the pavilion has been dismantled. The pavilion can thus be understood as a kind of ‘momentary image’ in the life cycle of the materials.
3. Sustainability is not limited to the building itself; it runs through the entire exhibition: The selection of products and projects that breathe life into CAMPUS GERMANY also contribute to this. What role do Sedus Stoll AG products play in this?
All back-of-house areas as well as the three restaurants and the VIP lounge have been furnished with products from Sedus Stoll AG. When selecting the furniture, it was not only design and functionality that were important to us, but also the environmental footprint of the furniture and the sustainability concept of the manufacturing company. In this regard, Sedus Stoll AG impressed us not only with their holistic thinking in the design and production, but also, in particular, with its diverse and long-standing entrepreneurial commitment.
4. And finally, a personal question: When you have been working as an architect for several years on such an outstanding building, doesn’t it hurt in a certain way that CAMPUS GERMANY will disappear at the end of the World Expo and will not survive as a building monument?
The German Pavilion is a highly complex hybrid building with its variety of uses: Exhibition, restaurants, offices, shop, auditorium and ancillary rooms. The ambition to represent Germany as a country in architectural terms and at the same time to offer visitors a unique experience is also accompanied by very specific requirements. The building is tailor made for these highly specific functions, that it would be difficult to convert it without losing at least some of its qualities.
For this reason, but also because of Expo and federal requirements, the building has been designed with its reuse in mind. The building is thus a radical example of the concept of circular construction. Especially for a building designed for a 6-month event, it seems completely reasonable to me to design it in such a way that it can be reused in another form. That’s why I’m not sad, but rather proud that when the Expo is over, nothing will remain of the building but the memory of the visitors and the building materials, which will then find new life in new buildings.
Christian Tschersich is an associate partner in the internationally acclaimed architecture firm LAVA – Laboratory for Visionary Architecture. He also holds teaching positions at a number of universities. He combines practice and teaching with research and development and achieves exchange and synergy effects by networking different areas of his activities. His design approach seeks to blend contextual concerns with innovative formal and material solutions.
The German pavilion has been designed by LAVA (Laboratory for Visionary Architecture) (Architecture), facts and fiction GmbH (exhibition) and built by NUSSLI Group.
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