Shenzhen, China
14 December 2019

Lipari School 2019

Lipari, Italy
24 July 2019


Italian Pavilion Expo Dubai 2020

Dubai, UAE


International design and innovation office CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati, Italo Rota Building Office, F&M Ingegneria and Matteo Gatto & Associati have won the international competition to design the Italian Pavilion at Expo Dubai 2020. Inspired by an ancient marine tradition, three boats will arrive in Dubai by sea and then be raised and turned upside down to become the very roof of the building. The Pavilion will be open from October 20th , 2020 to April 10th , 2021 in Dubai, U.A.E.


The Pavilion explores the ways in which “beauty connects people” – the theme of Italy’s participation in next year’s World’s Fair – paying tribute to the long history of explorers who, throughout the centuries, sailed the seas and wove together a shared Mediterranean cultural heritage. The use of upside-down hulls for the roof of the Pavilion connects to an ancient tradition of seafaring populations and fishermen all around the world, while also promoting sustainability with a circular approach.


“Reusing the ships once on land was an act that had a profound appeal to us: not only because it is laden with historical value, but because it represents the realization of a circular architecture from the project’s beginning. The ships that become part of the Pavilion can continue to be used in different ways even after the end of the Expo,” says Carlo Ratti, founding partner of CRA practice and director of the MIT Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).


The Italian Pavilion within the site of Expo 2020 Dubai will take up a surface of around 3,500 square meters and will be over 25 meters tall. Each hull will be painted in a different way, so that seen from above, they will appear like three petals in the colors of the Italian flag.


“The exhibition path will be marked by a gradual ascent until a point where it becomes possible, with some help from the imagination, to observe Italy from the sky,” explains architect Italo Rota, founding partner of Italo Rota Building Office: “There will be a ‘Prologue’ with large spaces inspired by the forms of important Italian piazze, and a Grand Finale that will be almost like a cathedral to nature, to light, to the music of the universe, like the sky over the Mediterranean and the Desert.”


The project continues CRA’s ongoing work in experimenting with innovative exhibition structures at the World Fairs. Previous projects include the Digital Water Pavilion, a water-based architecture at the Expo Zaragoza 2008 that reacted to people walking through it thanks to digital technologies – named by Time magazine one of the “Best Inventions of the Year” – and the Future Food District, an interactive retail space at Expo Milano 2015.


The project for the Italian Pavilion addresses the theme of Expo 2020 Dubai, “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.”

CREDITS CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati, Italo Rota Building Office, Matteo Gatto & Associati, F&M Ingegneria. CRA Team: Carlo Ratti, Giovanni de Niederhausern, Saverio Panata (project manager), Francesco Strocchio (project leader), Ina Sefgjini, Davide Ventura, Alessandro Tassinari, Alberto Benetti, Luca Bussolino, CRA graphic team (Gary Di Silvio, Gianluca Zimbardi, Pasquale Milieri)