Working with Pico, a global leader in total brand activation, McLaren Construction built the UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. The design was conceived by UK artist and designer, Es Devlin OBE, and produced by global brand experience agency, Avantgarde.

Building on the UK’s exceptional track record of participation in World Expo’s, the UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai is themed, “Innovating for a Shared Future”, showcasing the UK as a global hub of innovation and provider of solutions for the future. Located in the ‘Opportunity’ district, the UK Pavilion enables people worldwide to contribute one word to a collective global message which will appear on the front façade, generated by artificial intelligence and visitor contributions.

The centrepiece of the UK Pavilion is a 20-metre-high, cone-shaped structure made up of rows of protruding slats that extend outwards from one central point to form a circular façade. The building features cross-laminated timber on a concrete structure, with much of the Pavilion manufactured and assembled off site to maximise quality and safety standards.

The UK Pavilion highlights the UK’s expertise in artificial intelligence and the space sector by portraying a continually changing collective message generated by its visitors. Inspired by Stephen Hawking’s 'Breakthrough Message' project, it invites visitors to consider what message we would communicate to other advanced civilisations in space. The concept was created by Es Devlin Studio and then developed by the UK and UAE design teams at the Department for International Trade.

As well as building the Pavilion’s substructure, McLaren provided early buildability advice to the design team and, as permit holder, took lead responsibility on the key areas of health and safety and worker welfare.

The project’s performance in both these areas was deemed exceptional with no lost-time injury and very positive performance against the Modern Slavey Act. The substructure was delivered to a high standard and on time, despite tight logistics and difficult geometry.

The UK has used the Pavilion for a programme of events, including an exhibition on sustainable design, a summit on achieving a sustainable quality of life in the future and celebratory events for UK National Day.

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Mark Stephen Hunt
Mark Stephen HuntManaging Director - McLaren International

Expo is all about representing the best products and services our country has to offer the world. It was an opportunity for us to demonstrate the high health and safety standards that come as second nature to the UK construction industry.