The shiny, circular canopy of Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion, set to become one of Expo 2020’s most recognisable landmarks, is complete after its 1,055th and final solar panel was installed.
The momentous moment in the creation of Expo 2020’s vast 4.38 sqkm site saw the final panel of the 130-metre-wide canopy laid in place in a process that took several months, working from the inside of the canopy towards the edge.
The solar panels contribute to the pavilion’s generation of four gigawatt hours per year of electricity – enough for a Nissan Leaf to drive halfway to Mars, or to charge more than 900,000 mobile phones.
Part of the pavilion’s mission is to show how we can all live more sustainably, and the ingenious nature of the building itself will demonstrate to the world how we can set new standards for architecture and construction that are truly sustainable.
Visitors to the pavilion will be taken on a journey telling the enchanting story of humankind’s relationship with nature and our impact on it, and is designed to empower visitors to understand their effects of their actions and become agents of change.
Designed by UK-based Grimshaw Architects, the pavilion is planned to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum green building standards – the highest available accreditation for sustainable architecture.
Its grounds will feature a variety of sustainable innovations, including inventive irrigation techniques; a greywater recycling system; local plants to reduce water use by 75 per cent; ‘energy trees’ equipped with solar panels that rotate, like a sunflower, to face the sun; and a water tree that will produce water from the surrounding air.
Sited partially below ground, the pavilion will generally be cooler than the ambient temperature, while its canopy also shades it from the sun.
As part of legacy plans, the building will remain at District 2020 as a children and science centre, educating and inspiring generations to come.
The fully installed solar panels are currently covered in plastic to protect them from the elements until the big moment when they will be plugged in to begin generating electricity for the pavilion later this year.
It is another example of how Expo 2020, a unique celebration of art, culture, music, architecture, technology and more, will be a once-in-a-lifetime showcase of human brilliance and achievement, inspiring millions of visitors from around the world to create a better future for our planet.