Finland has become one of the first countries to top out its Expo 2020 Dubai pavilion. At a ceremony held at the Expo 2020 Dubai site, Finnish delegates, including Finland’s Minister of Economic Affairs, Mika Lintilä, Commissioner General of Finland at Expo 2020 Dubai, Severi Keinälä, and Finland’s Ambassador to the UAE, Marianne Nissilä, hosted guests and provided a full construction update.

The Finland pavilion, Snow Cape, is located within Expo 2020 Dubai’s Mobility District and the concept, design, planning and execution have been undertaken by Finland-based JKMM Architects and Swiss construction specialist, Expomobilia.

Severi Keinälä, Commissioner General of Finland at Expo 2020 Dubai, provided information about the pavilion: “The main theme of Snow Cape and Finland’s participation in Expo 2020 Dubai is ‘Finland – Sharing Future Happiness’. Finnish happiness is based on the symbiosis of people, nature and technology. This deep connection is the origin of the quality of everyday Finnish life and the Finland pavilion communicates this happiness by taking visitors on a journey through Finland’s key strengths, which are nature and sustainability, education and know-how and functionality and wellbeing.

“We want visitors to Snow Cape to immerse themselves in our deep connection to nature and sustainability. The values of happiness, circular economy and innovations are being showcased throughout the pavilion and exhibition design.”

JKMM Architects, which was also the architect of Finland’s pavilion at Shanghai Expo 2010, has designed a simple yet functional structure, ensuring accessibility, openness and simple people flow remain at the core of the architectural concept.

Teemu Kurkela, partner and architect at JKMM Architects, explained the design concept of Snow Cape: “In designing the pavilion, we sought to bring together Finland’s icy landscapes with the culture of the UAE. In Finnish, it is named Lumi, which means snow and the pavilion was inspired by the white blanket of snow that covers the Finnish landscape every winter. The main entrance was designed to elicit thoughts of a traditional Arabic tent, seamlessly integrating features from both cultures.

“Finnish components and materials used in the 1,867 square metre pavilion play asignificant role in its design. Soft and light façade fabrics are strongly contrasted by the hard, brushed concrete of the entrance deck. Water in dark lakes and shallow water pools will create gentle sounds and cool the air around them. The entrance, which spans the entire height of the pavilion, provides a cool, intermediate space to prepare visitors as they embark on their journey through the exhibition. Using hard, granite flooring, we will lead visitors to the central gorge, where they will be embraced by the warmth of gently curved wooden surfaces, acting as a serene space for visitors to relax.”

Finland was the first country to create a road map to a circular economy and it has stayed true to these principles in the design and construction of Snow Cape. Keinälä explained: “Sustainability has been a guiding theme throughout the design and construction process. With the exception of a limited number of Finnish materials being imported, Snow Cape is being built almost entirely using material from the local market, thereby reducing the environmental burden caused by unnecessary logistics and transportation.

“The simple design of Snow Cape minimises unnecessary additional claddings, enabling us to reduce the overall use of materials.”

Keinälä explained 80-85 per cent of the materials used to build Snow Cape would be recycled and reused after Expo 2020 Dubaiconcludes in April 2021.

A number of Finnish partner companies have been actively involved in the construction of the Finnish pavilion. For example, the pavilion elevators and sliding doors for the exhibition and VIP areas will be provided by KONE and will be repurposed following the Expo. Halton Group will provide an air ventilation system inside the main exhibition and gorge areas based on low-velocity air diffusers, assuring cool and fresh air on in the human-level zone up to three metres high.

Dietmar Kautschitz, chief customer officer at Expomobila, discussed Expomobilia’s role in the construction of Snow Cape: “It has been our honour to collaborate with Finland and its partner companies in the building of the Finnish pavilion. We have deployed 35 full-time team members onsite and we are very pleased to say works are completely on-schedule. To date, we have recorded 26,606 safe man-hours and almost 40 per cent of the construction work has been completed. We are excited to deliver the pavilion, which we’re sure will make a big impression during Expo 2020 Dubai.”

Works on Snow Cape are ongoing and are scheduled to be completed in the summer.