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Brazilian Pavilion - Expo 2020 Dubai

Ben-Avid, JPG.ARQ, MMBB Arquitetos

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

October 2021


José Paulo Gouvêa, Marta Moreira, Martin Benavidez, Milton Braga


Rui Furtado, Miguel Maratá, Muwafak Al Juboory, Guilherme Wisnik, Alexandre Benoit


Agência Brasileira de Promoção de Exportações e Investimentos (APEX - Brasil)


Joana de Alcântara e França


The structure makes it clear that the ground floor is the primary area for visitors, and that access becomes more restricted the further people move away from it. Added to this is its structural clarity, making it quick to assemble and disassemble; indeed, it does not require the kind of large-scale transportation that the exhibition might suggest. As is often the case with Brazilian architecture, its structural logic arises as an inseparable part of its architectural logic and the logic of its use, in this case museographic. The pavilion makes use of materials from around the world but with the same concept that has always characterized our architectural style: contemporary hollow. Allied to the small amount of construction involved, this coherence entails considerable gains from the point of view of economy and sustainability.
Finally, water being the central element of the proposal, with its associations with our long and profound relationship with our rivers, it becomes, here, a construction material: the support for the exhibition.


As in times of flood, when a river overflows its banks, inundating what was once land, the project floods, with a thin layer of water, the whole land of Brazil in Dubai. A uniform, dark topography derives its poetic motif from the Rio Negro in the Amazon basin. On this canvas are depicted meanders, beaches and backwaters, creating a grand plaza of water. It is shielded by a tensile structure 48 meters wide and 20 meters tall; four panels making up a roof, an impluvium, secured by cables anchored to the water mirror. During the day, this structure shades and protects the waters; at dusk it makes of the pavilion a luminous, floating cube. Immersed in projections, sounds, vapors and subtle aromas, this space forms the essence of the proposed museographic experience, whose theme is the fluvial waters of Brazil.
Visitors wishing to enter the water are welcome. Access to the pavilion and walks around it can be made in its dry areas, where facilities complementary to the exposition are also located, such as a café, restaurant and shop. These are contained in a separate, suspended volume that spans over the water plaza, in the manner of the houses on stilts, or palafitas, found in northern Brazil. On the air-conditioned first floor, is a multi-purpose space for lectures, debates, movies and small-scale shows. From there, visitors have a privileged view of the water plaza below. This floor and the next also have spaces for private meetings with Brazilian government officials and for technical use. On top of the roof, out of sight, are the necessary building machinery.


Avoiding images that diminish the complex diversity of our natural resources or conceal an urgent critical consciousness about the future of the planet, we present the pavilion as a grand water plaza over which hangs a great solar cloud, embracing its visitors and encouraging them to participate actively in a Brazilian environmental experience.
Bringing to the world condensed at Expo 2020 a little bit of the Brazilian way of life, particularly the richness of the informality of people's relationships with people and people's relationships with things, the pavilion has proved to be an attractive representation of Brazil and is, for this reason, one of the most visited pavilions in the entire exhibition.

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